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Antinucci, P. (2016). Poetics in the Shadow of the other's Language: The Melancholic Discourse of the Trilingual Poet Amelia Rosselli. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 97(5):1321-1342.

(2016). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 97(5):1321-1342

Interdisciplinary Studies

Poetics in the Shadow of the other's Language: The Melancholic Discourse of the Trilingual Poet Amelia Rosselli

Pina Antinucci

(Accepted for publication 26 October 2015)

In this paper, I propose a psychoanalytic reading of some of the writings of Amelia Rosselli, a trilingual poet who, at the age of seven, lost her father Carlo, who was persecuted and murdered by Mussolini's regime. History and her history conflate into personal and collective trauma which defies human possibilities to work through and mourn. Rosselli's work testifies to such predicament of the human subject of the 20th century, his/her dislocation, alienation and internal irreconcilable divisions. In particular I examine Diary in three tongues, which is the most autobiographical of her works and a self-analytic piece, written after the conclusion of her second analysis. In the Diary, Rosselli employs textual strategies which convey the fragmentation and destructuring of language, where her traumatic experience resides as a wound inflicted to the symbolic order. I propose that her writings contain her unconscious memories in an estranged and melancholic language which becomes the crucible to express her impossible mourning, in a complex mixture of Eros and Thanatos which allowed her to survive psychically and to create a very personal experimental poetic discourse which made her a literary figure of international acclaim. My primary engagement will be with Freud's theory of mourning and melancholia and its successive elaboration by Kristeva, who maintains that the melancholic discourse finds its expression in the preverbal and infra-verbal aspects of language, which she calls ‘semiotics’, in dialectic articulation with its symbolic components. Drawing on literary texts, significant inferences can be made on the psychoanalytic listening to the prosodic aspects of language as the carrier of inchoate forms of representation of that which exceeds language: trauma, raw affects, mnemic traces, that is, the unrepresented and/or unrepresentable.

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