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Of Attention: d'Annunzio's Sixth Sense


Bragato, Stefano (2017). Of Attention: d'Annunzio's Sixth Sense. Forum Italicum, 51(2):396-412.

Abstract

This article examines the concept of attention in Gabriele D’Annunzio’s oeuvre, arguing for its central position in the development of his aesthetic thought and of his creative activity. In one of his Faville del maglio (Sparks from the Hammer) entitled ‘Dell’attenzione’ (‘Of attention’, 1911), D’Annunzio referred to attention as his ability to exceptionally stretch his senses in order to perceive every detail of things, people and events surrounding him. This permanent effort enabled him not only to gather a thorough comprehension of reality, but also to reach its ultrasensitive sides and to perceive what is usually hidden to sensory perception. D’Annunzio’s attention can thus be considered as a sort of ‘sixth sense’, an instrument for both investigating the world and translating it into literature through poetic activity. The first part of the article discusses the concept of attention in the Spark, focusing especially on its links with D’Annunzio’s symbolist poetics and on its chiefly practical nature. In the second section I argue that this faculty was exercised by D’Annunzio through a specific physical tool, i.e. his notebooks, which can be considered as the concrete embodiment of this extraordinary sense.

Abstract

This article examines the concept of attention in Gabriele D’Annunzio’s oeuvre, arguing for its central position in the development of his aesthetic thought and of his creative activity. In one of his Faville del maglio (Sparks from the Hammer) entitled ‘Dell’attenzione’ (‘Of attention’, 1911), D’Annunzio referred to attention as his ability to exceptionally stretch his senses in order to perceive every detail of things, people and events surrounding him. This permanent effort enabled him not only to gather a thorough comprehension of reality, but also to reach its ultrasensitive sides and to perceive what is usually hidden to sensory perception. D’Annunzio’s attention can thus be considered as a sort of ‘sixth sense’, an instrument for both investigating the world and translating it into literature through poetic activity. The first part of the article discusses the concept of attention in the Spark, focusing especially on its links with D’Annunzio’s symbolist poetics and on its chiefly practical nature. In the second section I argue that this faculty was exercised by D’Annunzio through a specific physical tool, i.e. his notebooks, which can be considered as the concrete embodiment of this extraordinary sense.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Romance Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:800 Literature, rhetoric & criticism
470 Latin & Italic languages
410 Linguistics
440 French & related languages
460 Spanish & Portuguese languages
450 Italian, Romanian & related languages
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Cultural Studies
Social Sciences & Humanities > Language and Linguistics
Social Sciences & Humanities > Linguistics and Language
Social Sciences & Humanities > Literature and Literary Theory
Language:English
Date:15 March 2017
Deposited On:20 Jan 2021 08:28
Last Modified:21 Jan 2021 21:00
Publisher:Stony Brook, NY : Forum Italicum
ISSN:0014-5858
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/0014585817698399

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