Pasolini: Forms of Subjectivity

By Robert S. C. Gordon | Go to book overview

7
Mio corpo insepolto': The Body and the Father

Whilst the figure of the mother pervades every element of the Friulan idyll, and representations of the body carry some of its most potent meanings, the father is apparently conspicuous only by his absence in the early phases of Pasolini poetry. In both Meglio and Lusignolo, the figure of the father appears explicitly only a handful of times, is still absent from Roma 1950. Diario, and in Ceneri, appears only once. The governing Oedipal strategy of these texts is summed up in 'Lingua': 'ho ucciso il padre col silenzio' (I have killed the father with silence, L'usignolo, 69). The father is literally written out of the subject's nostalgia, whereas, as we have seen, the mother takes up a central and fluid position in the canvas of self-expression.1 On those occasions when the father does appear, however, the seeds of a far more imposing presence, bound up with a traumatic recognition of the poet's sexuality and his adulthood, can be discerned.2 In 'Litania', a sequence imbued with devotion to the mother and to her chastity, the father is simply the agent of violation and impurity: 'non v'ha violato / mano di padre' (no hand of a father / has violated You, 317). But since the self is already marked with sin and transgressive desire--'Su ridestiamoci, / che il nostro cuore vuole peccare' (Come on, up we get, / for our heart wants to sin, 318)--there is already an affinity between the father and the subject. The trauma which the rare references to the father explore is the

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1
The book Poesie a Casarsa was in fact dedicated to Pasolini's father (B2, 1187), but he later explained that the dedication, like the title of the book, was chosen 'out of conformism' ( 'Poeta delle ceneri', 2057). 'Poeta delle ceneri' also confirms the Oedipal force of their hostility: 'la nostra inimicizia faceva parte del destino, era fuori di noi' (our enmity was part of our destiny, it was beyond us, 2058). In 'Coccodrillo', he insists, however, that the conformism itself was 'd'origine esclusivamente materna' (of exclusively maternal origin, 2085; cf 'Ballata delle madri', Rosa, 599-601). Meglio and Nuova are both dedicated to Contini ( 5, 1047).
2
Ferretti suggests dividing Pasolini's work into 'a great maternal period' and an equally great 'paternal period' ( Ferretti, 1985, 85 and passim). See also Contini, 1980, 344-5; Golino, 1985, 142-8, 260-2.

-161-

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Pasolini: Forms of Subjectivity
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • List of Plates xi
  • Abbreviations and References xii
  • Introduction: The Work of Subjectivity 1
  • Part I - Pasolini's Public Work 9
  • 1 - The Contours of a Career 12
  • 2 - Projects in Journalism 23
  • 3 - Vocations 75
  • Part II - Poetry: A Movement of Forms 85
  • 4 - 'Who is Me': The Impulse to Autobiography 90
  • 5 - 'Pura Luce': a Vision of History 114
  • 6 - 'Un Folle Identificarsi': Figuring the Self 138
  • 7 - Mio Corpo Insepolto': The Body and the Father 161
  • 8 - Poetry into Cinema 184
  • Part III - Cinema: Tracking the Subject 187
  • 9 - Authority and Inscription 191
  • 10 - Style and Technique 205
  • II - Genesis and Intertextuality 219
  • 12 - Metaphor 228
  • 13 - Being and Film--Time 240
  • 14 - Spectatorship 251
  • Part IV - Unfinished Endings 265
  • 15 - Petrolio: Self and Form 267
  • Bibliography 293
  • Index 313
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