Pier Paolo Pasolini and the work of subjectivity
Gordon, Robert Samuel Clive
University of Cambridge
Department of Italian
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
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Gordon, R. S. C. (1993). Pier Paolo Pasolini and the work of subjectivity (Doctoral thesis). https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.40674
This dissertation examines the work of Pier Paolo Pasolini through the diverse forms and operations in which subjectivity presents itself and determines the orientation of his aesthetic, cultural and ideological practice. It develops a model of the work of subjectivity which is then applied in turn to the three major areas of his life and work. Part I examines his activities as an intellectual operator, or cultural activist, which show him using and creating opportunities for self-promotion and self-expression in a wide range of intellectual arenas, each with its own audience and professional obligations. Part II concentrates on his poetry, which is seen as a privileged locus of aesthetic selfexpression, and identifies a subtle pattern of shifting modulation of imagery and vocabulary, which is constantly renewed and transformed by use in different contexts. And Part III analyses his semiological theory and practice of cinema, showing how the totalising nature of representation which attracts him to cinema overshadows the play of variation and formal patterning in poetry, and thus regularly displaces the locus of subjectivity away from the films themselves and towards ancillary discourses. The dissertation demonstrates that Pasolini consistently manipulates the formal characteristics of the idioms, media and genres in which he works, creating multiple dynamics of variation in each. This particular variatio, which Pasolini came close to theorising in his formulation of 'sperimentalismo', is shown to be the vessel for the implicit and neverfixed work of subjectivity. The complex interplay between form and subjectivity, which emerges from the close detail of the analysis, is posited as an interpretative key to Pasolini which challenges more direct and superficial critical commonplaces, such as the dichotomy between 'passione e ideologia' suggested by Pasolini himself and followed by many since.
Digitisation of this thesis was sponsored by Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin.
This record's DOI: https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.40674
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