Simone Turco (University of Genoa)


Simone Turco (Genoa 1985) specializes in Comparative Literature and History of Ideas. He carries out research in semantics, aesthetics, and religious studies, especially addressing the relationship between religious or para-religious culture and literature. As a translator, he produced the English version of Enrica Salvaneschi and Silvio Endrighi’s Libro Linteo. Titolo I. Il resto (Ro Ferrarese 2009), with the title Lino’s Papers. The Rest (Turin 2011), as well as the first Italian edition of John Baillie’s Essay on the Sublime, with the title Saggio sul sublime (Ro Ferrarese 2014). He is co-editor of the international journal «Lumina. Rivista di Linguistica storica e di Letteratura comparata». He has taught courses in Comparative Literature and History of Ideas, Hebrew Studies, and General Linguistics. Among his works: ‘Adel’ eckartiano, ‘nobilitade’ dantesca. La nobiltà nel pensiero di Meister Eckhart e nel Convivio, Trattato IV (Pisa 2011) and The Marble Faun. Art, Nature and Morals Between Classicism and Aestheticism (Rome 2020).

Emptying Fullness, Filling Emptiness. The Silence of Signs and the Transcending of Speech in the Modernist Experience

The advancement of linguistic research between the late nineteenth and the mid-twentieth centuries, especially at a pragmatic level, had a substantial impact on the study of illocutionary features of linguistic expression. In fact, the pragmatic perspective typical of modernist thought seems to have favoured the creation of literary and poetic formats in which meaning is more easily conveyed by what is missing, unsaid, or understated. The core of such a tendency can certainly be identified in the important role that Martin Heidegger, whose work is temporally cast in the very middle of the modernist experience, attributes to silence, as well as to the way existentialism in its broadest sense created a pattern of ‘loud unspokenness’ relating authors to their readership. The aim of this paper is to outline how pragmatic linguistics allied with existentialist philosophy and how this affected the development in poetry of a peculiar ‘semantics of absence’ centred on silence as a conveyor of a text’s significance, with the transcending or downplaying of locutionary aspects being instrumental in re-thinking, at a literary level, the notion of sign as a bearer of meaning and, at a philosophical level, in criticizing classic ontology. The discourse will be carried out through the analysis of literary specimens selected among authorship from a modernist milieu.