The aim of this paper is to present imaginary personalities from oral and written literature who have found their place in Italian fixed expressions due to their character, specific circumstances, events or the things they have done or said. Most of the analysed characters in this paper are fictional, while some are associated with the most diverse stories and legends, mostly of unclear origin. If the analysed characters have been taken from a literary work, their creator is an individual and therefore a known subject. The creator of these characters can also be a collective author, and therefore an unknown subject. The characteristics of the protagonists in folk fiction and folklore have been created for a longtime and they have been constantly attributed new meanings and language varieties. Although the subject of research in this paper are phrases of the contemporary Italian language, when it comes to these language forms, we cannot talk about contemporaneity in a narrower sense. Namely, due to their stability, these expressions represent a kind of antiquity, passed down from generation to generation through time and space. We will consider as contemporary those idioms which are recognizable in form and meaning in the language and speech of the XX and XXI century, and we will extract them from general and phraseological dictionaries and collections.
Relying on recent theoretical work in the field of critical animal studies and ecocriticism, the paper discusses several fantasies across different media and genres (a comic book series, a young adult novel, and an animated film), whose common characteristic is a critical stance towards anthropocentrism, also known, tellingly, as “human exceptionalism”, “human supremacy”, and “human chauvinism”. The selected corpus consists of Neil Gaiman’s “A Dream of a Thousand Cats”, Hannah Moskowitz’s “Teeth”, and Hayao Miyazaki’s “Princess Mononoke”. Dissimilar as they are, these fantasies share common thematic concern with the relationship between the human and the nonhuman – primarily animals – as well as commitment to challenging the notions of natural, just and desirable human supremacy over all other forms of life. In the selected works, human exceptionalism is challenged by unmasking human exceptional brutality at its root,and, perhaps more unnervingly, by the exploration of the fundamentalkinship between human and nonhuman animals. Although these popular fantasies do not voice explicit or simple ecological messages, due to the above mentioned concerns, they function as ecocritical texts as well. In the context of the global environmental crisis, it is in this ecocritical potential that some relevance of fantasy arguably lies.
Magic(al) realism has for long attracted critical attention as one of the more theoretically elusive concepts which has been termed magic, magical, and magic(al), interpreted as a narrative genre, mode,or strategy, and analyzed alongside similar terms and neighbouring genres. While it briefly summarizes the troubling terminology associated with magic(al) realism, this paper focuses on the cultural significance of magic(al) realism for postcolonial writing, and delves into its role as a strategy of resistance in the representation of culture and history, its destabilizing project, and the possible pitfalls in its employment.
The French Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau often used the motifs of fantastic beings and animals in his works, amongst which the unicorn found its place. Moreau got the inspiration for the unicorn motif after a visit to the Cluny Museum in Paris, in which six medieval tapestries with the name “The Lady and the Unicorn” were exhibited. Relying on the French Middle Age heritage, Moreau has interpreted the medieval legend of the hunt for this fantastic beast (with the aid of a virgin) in a new way, close to the art of Symbolism and the ideas of the cultural and intellectual climate of Paris at the end of the 19th century. In the Moreau’s paintings “The Unicorn” and “The Unicorns”, beautiful young nude girls are portrayed in the company of one or multiple unicorns. Similarly to the lady on the medieval tapestry, they too gently caress the animal, showing a close and sensual relationship between them. Although they were rid of their clothes, the artist donned lavish capes, crowns and jewellery on them, alluding to their privileged social status. Their beauty, nudity and closeness with the unicorns ties them to the theme of the femme fatal, which was often depicted in the Symbolist art forms. Showing the fairer sex as beings closer to the material,instinctual and irrational, Moreau has equated women and animals, as is the case with these paintings. Another important theme of the Symbolic art forms which can be seen on the aforementioned paintings is nature,wild and untouched. The landscape in the paintings shows a harmony between the unrestrained nature and the heroes of the painting, freed from strict moral laws of the civil society, or civilization in general.Putting the ladies and the unicorns in an ideal forest landscape, Moreau paints an intimate vision of an imaginary golden age, in this case the Middle Age, through a harmonic relationship of unicorns, women and nature. In that manner, Moreau’s unicorns tell a fairy tale of a modern European man at the end of the 19th century: a fairy tale of harmony,sensuality and beauty, hidden in the realms of imagination and dreams.
This paper examines film locations as places of memory (les lieux de mémoire) and their role in individual imagination. Film induced tourism creates specific sites of memory typical of global popular culture; the places of confrontation, negotiation, and interplay between fiction and reality which affect our mental as well as the real topographies. The aim is to analyse how memorised film images determine visitors’ experience of real places and their imagining of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fictional world, and vice versa. The film adaptations of Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit”, directed by Peter Jackson, were shot in New Zealand, causing it to become touristically promoted and visited as “the home of Middle-earth” and “Middle earth on Earth”. This case is analysed as an illustrative example of the aforementioned processes.
This paper analyses Diana Wynne Jones’s use of the Arthurian tradition in her novel Hexwood and the links she establishes with the contemporary traditions of the fantasy novel for children and science fiction. By employing a complex non-linear narration and a rich network of intertextual allusions ranging from Thomas Mallory and Edmund Spenser to T. H. White, Wynne Jones creates an unusual and success fulgenre amalgam. The central concept of the novel, a version of virtual reality where individuals adopt false identities and act accordingly,enables a highly uncommon self-aware use of motifs adopted from myth and literature.