"The television as a means of Kulturkritik: metamorphosis and symbiosis in the European novel of the 21st century"

Nora Moll

Abstract


In many Italian and European novels of the new millennium, television is not only a motive, a stage element or an instrument for conveying the "background noises" of society; on the contrary, it is a remarkable thematic presence. Yet when compared with its use in 20th century novels – and even more so when compared with its dystopic variants – this mass medium seems to have lost its role of the "great accused" (Menduni 2012). In fact, in the narratives of the new millennium it is possible to observe a new metamorphosis of the television theme, driven by the criticism of Western culture and civilization, which entails a relinquishment of the more traditional representation of the conflict between emblematic humanist characters and this medium, once a symbol of totalitarian powers and hetero-directed societies. Through the thematic isotopies that express an idea of the West in terms of the dissolution of its founding values, in the novels in question we note a symbiosis between the characters and this mass medium: characters whose ethos and whose self-image are now built through their being spectators and TV viewers.

Therefore, the Kulturkritik these texts zero-in on also serves as an identity critique which does not spare the protagonists, often presented as alter-egos or auto-fictional doubles of their authors. The comparative, thematic and hermeneutic analysis of three novels by Antonio Scurati, Walter Siti and Michel Houellebecq will thus unveil the inconsistencies and paradoxes of the so-called “literature of inexperience" (Scurati 2006), whose symbiosis with the language of television (and of other mass media) eventually raises several questions.

Keywords


Television theme; Kulturkritik; Siti; Scurati; Houellebecq

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13125/2039-6597/3350

NBN: http://nbn.depositolegale.it/urn%3Anbn%3Ait%3Aunica-24759

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