Sandro Penna and anti-Oedipal impegno

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A number of Italianists have recently argued the need to reconsider the term impegno in the light of feminist and queer critiques. Such critiques do not simply highlight the way in which impegno has usually been construed as a masculine, heterosexual domain. They also note that its employment often presupposes a gendered, heteronormative account of politics itself. Complicating this sense of politics via a reading of recent work in queer theory which insists that desire and need are intertwined, this essay argues for a reconsideration of the work of Italian poet Sandro Penna - someone whose oeuvre has regularly been construed by literary critics as apolitical - as an example of impegno. Bringing together psychoanalysis, the work of Michel Foucault, and historical materialism, the essay argues that, in their historical context, Penna's poems staged a resistance to what Freud termed the genital organisation of the libido and are thus 'anti-Oedipal'.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)339-354
Number of pages16
JournalModern Italy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science


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