Towards a thematic archaeology: the gaze of things

Ezio Puglia

Abstract



This paper examines the contribution that Warburg's theories can bring to thematology. It does so concretely, above all, through a discussion of historical-literary material. The author hypothesises that the literary representation of non-inert objects took place, in the 18th- and 19th-century fantastic genre, also by using spatio-temporal constants and recurring figurative formulae. By analysing not so much the linguistic, but rather the iconic or imaginative aspect of such constants and formulae (which can be considered as loci communes), these end up resembling Pathosformeln, or moving themes. Through the example of a canonical text such as Berenice, the author illustrates the basic characteristics of this sort of imaginative rhetoric. Subsequently, he shows how the image of things' gaze, which is arguably part of such rhetoric, in the 19th century is transposed also to non-literary texts, and above all to Lacan's psychoanalytic theory. Lastly, on the basis of the arguments and the data collected, the paper proposes an archaeological approach to the study of themes.
Keywords: Literary theory, Theme, Thing theory, Fantastic

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13125/2039-6597/1118

NBN: http://nbn.depositolegale.it/urn%3Anbn%3Ait%3Aunica-17033

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