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I diversi volti della follia nella narrativa di Patrick McGrath

This study addresses the issue of madness in Patrick McGrath’s fiction, through the analysis of three of his most famous novels: Spider, Dr Haggard’s Disease and Asylum.
McGrath is a contemporary English writer, whose upbringing is quite bizarre: he spent his childhood in the compounds of the Broadomoor Hospital, which is the UK’s largest top – security mental hospital, where his father worked as mental superintendent for many years.
As a novelist and shortstory writer, he is considered as complex as his narrative: his novels all focus on the interior of the soul and his fiction reflects unstable worlds on the borders between madness and sanity.
According to him, the gothic sensibility is still alive, even if what he usually calls the furniture of the 19th century gothic writers, in no longer employed. Madness, in McGrath’s work, replaces the old gothic terror and contemporary urban landscapes stand for the old gothic castles. Hence, his work has been labelled as new gothic, or postmodern gothic to be precise. All this aspects are discussed in the second chapter, which aims at describing McGrath’s fiction with respect to contemporary English literature. In this section, references to old gothic novels have been made.
Although McGrath dislikes the label of gothic writer, which is sometimes used to describe his style, he does believe that gothic provides a structure for reading the unconscious. Therefore, gothic is to him, the more suitable genre for making an account of madness.
What has been explored, it’s the fact that, even though he was first coined the new Edgar Allan Poe of the 80’s, however his references to the gothic grow increasingly subtle and are hinted at in his later work. Thus, McGrath progressively detaches himself from the Gothic label to focus on his study of madness, devoid of the gothic furniture. Here, the attention has been focused on the development of the role of madness, which has always a different function in each of the three analysed novels, despite the fact that some recurring themes are approached.

-The first novel is Spider, and it is the journal of a schizophrenic man, who tries to piece together the fragments of his childhood, marked by a terrible murder. The readers is trapped in the mind of the narrator and in the false set of memories he believes it is what really happened in his past.
The representation of madness changes deeply in the next two novels: In Haggard is still connected with traditional gothic themes and settings, and the author makes several allusions to romantic poetry.
In Asylum, McGrath takes it from a totally different point of view: he went on the other side of the wall, because the narrator, this time, is a psychiatrist who seems to be a wise, sympathetic man, and who makes an apparently detached account of the events he describes. Asylum is definitely a story of an obsessive love, in which the boundaries between madness and sanity are no longer very clear, reflecting also the impossibility of picturing the truth of a story, the good version of reality.
The representation of a fragile, breakable boundary between madness and sanity has been interpreted as a metaphor of the same frailty of the boundary between reality and fiction, good and evil. The author, with Asylum, has deliberately chosen not to be the ultimate authority as to the meaning of the events been described, the story being narrated, placing himself into the mainstream.

Mostra/Nascondi contenuto.
INTRODUZIONE Esiste un filo conduttore fra tre romanzi dello scrittore inglese Patrick McGrath, Spider (1990), Dr Haggard’s Disease (1993) e Asylum(1996) che, considerati i tre come una triade in cui il primo è una metariflessione sul tema della schizofrenia, il secondo è un pastiche delle tematiche e delle ambientazioni gotiche, conduce alla costruzione di un romanzo più complesso, Asylum, che presenta una critica sottile al patriarcato, all’abuso di potere sociale, alle demarcazioni troppo nette fra normalità e follia. Attraverso l’esame di tre fra i più rinomati romanzi dello scrittore inglese, ci si propone, dunque, di analizzare lo sviluppo dell’idea di follia nella sua opera. Patrick McGrath nasce a Londra nel 1950. Nel 1955 suo padre, un autorevole psichiatra, viene nominato sovrintendente del Broadmoor Institution for Criminally Insane, il principale ospedale psichiatrico dell’Inghilterra. Donne e uomini che avevano commesso gravi crimini perché affetti da disturbi mentali, furono i compagni della sua infanzia. Il piccolo Patrick si abitua ben presto ad udire storie di violenza, i cui effetti sono mitigati dalla mediazione del padre, il quale inizia il figlio maggiore alla psichiatria. 1 Questa infanzia quantomeno peculiare, secondo lo stesso autore, ebbe per conseguenza quella di suscitare in lui un’empatia ed insieme un fascino verso la follia. Compiuti i ventunanni, McGrath lascia l’Inghilterra per il Canada, lavorando prima in vari ospedali psichiatrici, poi come insegnante. Sette anni dopo, trasferitosi in una remota isola del Nord del Pacifico, decide di seguire il suo sogno di sempre: scrivere. 1 Magali Falco, A collection of Interviews with Patrick McGrath, Paris, Editions Publibook 2007, p. 17. I

Laurea liv.II (specialistica)

Facoltà: Lingue e Letterature Straniere

Autore: Ester Siliberto Contatta »

Composta da 130 pagine.

 

Questa tesi ha raggiunto 1081 click dal 24/01/2011.

 

Consultata integralmente 2 volte.

Disponibile in PDF, la consultazione è esclusivamente in formato digitale.