The Kitsch desire: Walter Siti and his "too many paradises"

Ornella Tajani


Kitsch is the system where people live their lives as a commercial and their identity as an eternal performance. What happens there to desire? If in this utopia the man is supposed to live easily and pleasingly, how can he bear something out-of-hand such as desire?

After a theoretical introduction on Kitsch, the paper will answer these questions basing on three Walter Siti’s works: the novels Troppi paradisi and Autopsia dell’ossessione and the narrative reportage Il canto del diavolo. Here the reader finds three paradigms of Kitsch experience: tourism, television, and a certain kind of prostitution. By investigating them, the paper will show how the desire changes its shape when it has to face the Kitschmensch’s tendency to disguise himself «dans le miroir du mensonge embellissant et de s’y reconnaître avec une satisfaction émue», as Kundera says.

The marvellous and most sustainable lightness of being is then the Kitsch utopia cipher; it cannot consider the presence of desire but when it is feasible: the Kitsch desire, the ersatz of desire, is given for free with the product fulfilling it.


Siti; Kitsch; Kundera; Broch; Tourism; Desire

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