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Autobiography as Self-Ethnography in Italo Calvino’s ‘La poubelle agréée’

Published version
Peer-reviewed

Repository DOI


Type

Article

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Abstract

The relevance of Calvino’s anthropological readings, often overlooked by scholars, is particularly evident in his autobiographical project Passaggi obbligati. The structure of the book, consisting of a selection of crucial turning points in the author’s life, is modelled on the theories presented by Arnold Van Gennep in Les Rites de passage. Considering ‘La poubelle agréée’ as a case study, I will highlight Calvino’s shaping of his autobiography according to Van Gennep’s ritual frame, which can be described as a hybrid form of autobiography and ethnography, and which I define as ‘self-ethnography’. The influence of Mary Douglas’ reflection on impurity and garbage in her book Purity and Danger will then be considered as a further crucial theoretical reference for Calvino’s construction of his self-ethnographic narrative.

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Keywords

Italo Calvino, Arnold Van Gennep, Mary Douglas, self-ethnography, autobiography

Journal Title

Italian Studies

Conference Name

Journal ISSN

0075-1634
1748-6181

Volume Title

78

Publisher

Informa UK Limited