Archaeologies of Diving: Paul Carter’s Engagement with Italy

by Paul Carter, Roberta Trapè

The prolific Australian author and artist, Paul Carter (1951-) has made an important contribution to the reconceptualisation of colonial cultures and their postcolonial prospects. As an artist and place-maker, his work is widely published and studied. However, the important Italian engagement underwriting his scholarly and creative production has not been widely studied. This article attempts to rectify the omission. It offers a chronological overview of Carter’s forty-year engagement with situations in Italian urbanism, art and philosophy. It also isolates key themes: archipelagic sense of place, echoic mimetic communicational principles, and a migrant epistemology rooted in the notion of ‘self-becoming at that place’, which can be productively linked to Carter’s unfinished return to Italy, a process of repeated encounter that is a biographical equivalent of Giambattista Vico’s historical ricorso.


Old Calabria di Norman Douglas come ricerca del senso perduto

by Miriam Sette

Norman Douglas’ Old Calabria recounts the author’s search for a personal identity, after his failure to meet societal norms has cut him off from his background. In the traces of the civilisation of ancient Greece, Douglas rediscovers his authentic identity in the history, tradition, and rites of the deep south of the Italian peninsula. When he reaches the ‘Greek’ Sila, rich in vestiges of the classical world, his discovery of Orphic rituals allows him to reconcile the differing elements of his polymorphic nature within the embrace of Great Mother Earth, which welcomes all diversities. Douglas’ project in visiting Calabria can thus be read metaphorically as the search for an ideal place of the soul, fueled by the hope of realising his natural impulses; it is also, more widely, a search for a metaspace of sensual liberation, free from the privilege, hypocrisy, and prohibitions of Victorian morality.


Ground Beneath Her Feet: Myth, Migration and Identity in Salman Rushdie

by Pierpaolo Martino

The Ground Beneath Her Feet – Salman Rushdie’s 1999 cult novel – stands as a very rich and complex cultural text, which today should be praised for the originality and intelligence of the author’s literary invention and for offering a crucial key for the understanding of essential aspects of our present. In the novel the Anglo-Indian writer investigates such complex topics as myth, migration, identity and celebrity, through an extremely rich narrative, which mixes ancient mythology and contemporary pop culture. More specifically the novel represents a space in which ancient myths (namely, the myth of Orpheus) migrate into new forms – shaping complex identities – and at the same time a rich narrative about music and pop musicians as contemporary myths, or better metaphors, of migration. It might be argued that myth, migration and identity represent the main themes and discursive forces of Rushdie’s musical narrative; these very forces are, in our perspective, essential in order to understand and respond to the present moment of the globalised era.


Rooting Identities: Derek Walcott’s Connection(s) with the Caribbean Environment

by Mattia Mantellato

This article aims to demonstrate how the notions of ‘identity representation’ and ‘ecological narrative’ complement each other in defining both the characters and stories that Caribbean writer Derek Walcott sketches in his well-known epic Omeros. In tune with the theories that have shaped “literary ecology”, this study displays the symbolic role the natural and animistic world plays in the poem. Walcottian protagonists are lost in an “edge of the world” they perceive as ‘hostile’. By presenting the hybrid cultural background that characterises the West Indian “space”, this article addresses two emblematic episodes of Walcottian Omeros and focuses on the uncovering of truths the Caribbean land has concealed from human understanding. It is only through reconciliation with “nature” that once-colonised peoples are capable of accepting their colonial legacy and finally setting down “roots” in a place they can call “home”.


Traditional Hindu Elements in Kiran Desai’s The Inheritance of Loss

by Maria Camilla Di Tullio

This paper offers an Indological interpretation of Kiran Desai’s novel The Inheritance of Loss analysing behaviours and dynamics that are even more meaningful in the light of Hindu ethics. Among the Hindu principles lurking behind the story, the most evident are the sin of samudrayana connected to the ocean voyage; the overlooking of dharma leading to the misfortune of some of the characters; the existential balance between opposites; the mythological Mount Meru represented by Mount Kanchenjunga; finally, the veil of Maya suggested by the constant presence of mist.


Le sirene in Tomasi di Lampedusa e le possibili fonti

by Fabiana Savorgnan Cergneu di Brazzà

This contribution, a journey through literary classics, aims at verifying if there is a relationship between the short story Lighea (1961), by Tomasi di Lampedusa and traditional classical sources (Aristoteles, Homer, Ovid, Virgil). Besides, we will also try to establish a possible interdependence with Boccaccio’s original reworking of them in the Genealogie Deorum Gentilium. The siren, here seen as a representation of identity in the classical world, will be examined in the suggestive depiction of these authors, taking also into account various interpretations: her persuasive and sweet aspects as well as her brutal and ferocious sides.


The Enigma of Identity: A Reading of Anil’s Ghost by Michael Ondaatje

by Pier Paolo Piciucco

In this paper I aim at analysing the composite, postcolonial, multicultural and transnational nature of identity emerging in Michael Ondaatje’s Anil’s Ghost, most prominently in the protagonist Anil Tissera. My work progresses through two distinct stages: in the first part I discuss the quality and inner contradictoriness of this developing form of identity using the tools of postcolonial criticism and diaspora studies, basically focusing my attention on the ways in which Anil’s identity undergoes modifications that may also appear ambiguous during her journey from Sri Lanka to England first and US later. Ideologically, that passage brings her from the periphery to the centre of the postcolonial world. In the second part of this paper I intend to shift my attention on how Anil needs to come to terms with the conflicting issues at the very roots of her identity formation as an expatriate: in this section of my work I will also employ Caruth’s Unclaimed Experience, a fundamental text in trauma studies, in order to explain how the effects of past traumatic experiences are mainly responsible for disorientation and alienation in a diasporic subject. This dilemma becomes particularly manifest in the case of an exile’s homecoming, such as Anil Tissera in Anil’s Ghost.


Memory and Negotiations of Identity in Train to Pakistan

by Giuseppe De Riso

This article focuses on Khushwant Singh’s Train to Pakistan to analyse the negotiations of identity among different ethnic communities at the time of the Partition between India and Pakistan which occurred in August 1947. In particular, this paper will try to show the impact, in the economy of social relationships and violence in Singh’s novel, of uncertainties put forward through the circulation of ‘rumours’ along and across the then still uncertain borders dividing the two budding nations.


Passages to India: Santha Rama Rau’s Adaptation of E. M. Forster’s Novel for the Stage

by Paola Carmagnani

The essay offers a critical analysis of Santha Rama Rau’s theatrical adaptation of E. M. Forster’s novel, largely ignored by postcolonial criticism. Situating Rau’s text within its specific historical and cultural context and examining it through a close reading which has not been attempted before, the essay aims to reveal the multiple “passages to India” that shape it. The intermedial passage from novel to theatre is in fact as well a symbolic passage, where the novel’s implicitly Eurocentric vision is by no means erased, but rather interpreted and re-created within a dialogic process.


From and to Paris: Experiences of Migration in The Book of Salt

by Nadia Priotti

Focusing on the different experiences of migration presented in Monique Truong’s The Book of Salt, set in Paris in the 1930s but involving characters coming from Indochina and the United States, the essay tries to identify motives and opportunities, and the consequent way the various characters consider the capital city. This analysis reveals that the reasons for leaving and the way migrants face their dislocation is often related to the idea of ‘feeling at home’, which connects memory, present experience and choices for the future.