Writing the Self

Organiser & Chair: Guylian Nemegeer (Ghent University)

This panel examines the aesthetics and ideologies of self-writing in European modernisms. Anna Dijkstra (Huygens Instituut) discusses Robert Musil’s The Man Without Qualities, highlighting how the novel’s aesthetic of rationality serves as a type of epistemological self-fashioning that can help readers understand how the far-right instrumentalises rationality. Donato Ennio Gagliastro (University of Bari) examines Gabriele d’Annunzio’s self-writing in Libro Segreto and Faville del Maglio. More specifically, he focuses on its modernist features, including its introspective and fragmentary nature, and its exploration of consciousness. In doing so, Gagliastro argues that d’Annunzio’s latest works displayed a modernist aesthetic of self-analysis that was in line with contemporary debates on the poetics of fragments. Valeria Taddei (University College Dublin) discusses the function of the diary as a modernist writing tool in the poetics of André Gide, Virginia Woolf and Carlo Emilio Gadda. She will use her discussion of these authors to develop a larger reflection on the mutual interactions between modernist sensitivity, private writing and experimental fiction in European modernist literature. Finally, Michele Paragliola (Università degli Studi Suor Orsola Benincaca) focuses on the complex nature of Umberto Saba’s work. He argues that the author’s autobiographical writing revolves around antimodernist and modernist elements. In this regard, he analyses Saba’s classicism, highlighting the dual character of his autobiographical writing and establishing him as one of Italy’s most influential literary voices in the 20th century.


Anna Dijkstra (Huygens Instituut) – Aesthetics of Rationality in The Man Without Qualities: The Novel of Ideas and the Contemporary Far-Right

Donato Ennio Gagliastro (University of Bari) – The Encounter with Modernity in Gabriele d’Annunzio’s Autobiographical Writing

Valeria Taddei (University College Dublin) – Uses of the Personal Diary: A Modernist Writerly Tool?

Michele Paragliola (Università degli Studi Suor Orsola Benincasa) – Saba’s Autobiographical Writing between Modernism and Antimodernism