The Supernatural and Folklore in the Short Tales by Giovanni Magherini-Graziani and Eraldo Baldini Cover Image
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The Supernatural and Folklore in the Short Tales by Giovanni Magherini-Graziani and Eraldo Baldini
The Supernatural and Folklore in the Short Tales by Giovanni Magherini-Graziani and Eraldo Baldini

Author(s): Francesco Corigliano
Subject(s): Studies of Literature
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
Keywords: fantastic literature; Italian literature; contemporary Italian literature; folklore; literary criticism; Giovanni Magherini-Graziani; Eraldo Baldini; Lucio Lugnani; Remo Ceserani;
Summary/Abstract: The essay focuses on the presence of the supernatural in Italian literature, and specifically in a trend linked to the folklore. The first part is about the literary production of Giovanni Magherini-Graziani (1852–1924), a writer from Tuscany who was the only Italian author published by the famous magazine Weird Tales. The tales of the supernatural written by Magherini-Graziani take much from the Tuscan folklore, imitating the folktale not only in the themes but also in the particular storytelling’s modes. The second part of the essay focuses on the tales by Eraldo Baldini (1952–), a contemporary writer from Emilia-Romagna, who uses the folklore in a way similar to Magherini-Graziani. Even if set nowadays, the stories written by Baldini develop around the possibility of a real existence of beings present in legends and folktales. The works of Magherini-Graziani and Baldini are selected as examples of a literary tendency present in Italy but overshadowed by the more traditional fantastic tale derived from gothic and romantic experiences, which is different for many reasons. This folkloric line is still close to the “orthodox” fantastic, and meanwhile has unique characteristics. Similarities consist in the narrative attitude and the presence of narrator- characters in the story: in the works by Magherini-Graziani, the tales are often told by many narrators, building an atmosphere of uncertainty and vagueness perfectly linked to the impossibility of the supernatural itself. In the works by Baldini, the story often focuses on a single narrator, or on a character whose responsibility it is to narrate, and who is involved personally in supernatural situations; the contemporary context influences the storytelling’s nature. Differences from the traditional fantastic tale consist in the collective imagination. If in the fantastic there is often an inversion of the general natural order (what is believed verisimilar in all the world), in the tales by Magherini-Graziani and Baldini, the imaginary is local and peculiar of the Italian province; the supernatural consists in the materialization of a legend or a folktale, and the reality’s inversion happens mainly in the close field of the beliefs typical of the regions narrated in the stories. The goal of the essay is then to highlight this part of the fantastic Italian production that draws fully not from the literary precedents but from the provincial substrate, moving the narrative mechanism of the oral tales in a written form with characteristics recurring in the time which maintain the actualization and representation of ancient beliefs.

  • Page Range: 307-319
  • Page Count: 13
  • Publication Year: 2018
  • Language: English