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    A Minor Subject: Habit and Subjectivity in Modernist Literature and Philosophy

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    In this essay, I intend to investigate some of the aspects of the resurgence of habit at the dawn of the twentieth century by touching upon a series of paradigmatic texts of the modernist canon and by investigating their debts to and consonances with the contemporary philosophies of habit. My thesis is that during those decades – seen as a mere chapter in the longer history of modernity – the philosophical and literary theme of habit served not only as a way to understand and represent the ordinary dimension of life, but also as a means to develop an idea of human subjectivity that could mediate between the centrifugal and the centripetal tendencies that permeated the competing ideologies of the time. The crisis of subjectivity that characterized modernism and which has often been simplistically represented as a disintegration of the subject into irredeemably broken fragments, should rather be seen as the development of a dialectical idea of a “minor subject”, that is, an open, dynamic, multilayered subjectivity still endowed by a certain malleable consistency. Both modernist literature and its philosophical counterparts found in the “minor subject” (here in the sense of “subject matter”) of habit, the opportunity to investigate and represent the porosity between activity and passivity, volition and determinism, individual identity and social structures, that characterize this idea of subjectivity. I focus on three different representative – though not exhaustive – facets of the issue. In the first section, relying on Virginia Woolf's work, I highlight how some of the narrative techniques developed by Modernist writers can be seen as an attempt to give a plastic representation to the blurred boundaries of subjectivity as captured in the everyday existence of their characters. I then connect these innovations to the theory of habit of Samuel Butler, whom Woolf identified as one of the harbingers of modernity. In the second section I focus on Marcel Proust to discuss how modernist writers proved to be able to combine two opposed views of habit: on the one hand, the view of habit as purely mechanical and leading to inauthentic life; on the other, the idea of habit as essential to the human being's potential for self-perfecting and creativity. The third section is dedicated to addiction, seen as a form of habit in which the subject is radically torn between opposite forces. Following insights from Sigmund Freud's Beyond the Pleasure Principle, I interpret Italo Svevo's Zeno's Conscience as a meditation on how such a torn subjectivity manifests the essential incompleteness of the human subject and life's insuppressible nostalgia for the inorganic. Virginia Woolf’s blurred boundaries, Marcel Proust’s ambiguous authenticity, and Italo Svevo’s split selfhood are three interconnected facets of the modernists’ interest in the “minor subject” of habit. Investigating the interaction between the philosophical and the literary discourses on habit at the dawn of the twentieth century can contribute to a more nuanced reconstruction of a pivotal moment in the history of thought but also to the contemporary philosophical debate. Almost exactly one century later, the renewed interest in the theme of habit mirrors a situation in part similar to what characterized the ideological landscape of the time, as now too it is concerned with the attempt to reimagine a “minor subject” that mediates between the postmodern pulverization of identity and the temptation of reaffirming anachronistic forms of strong subjectivities.In this essay, I intend to investigate some of the aspects of the resurgence of habit at the dawn of the twentieth century by touching upon a series of paradigmatic texts of the modernist canon and by investigating their debts to and consonances with the contemporary philosophies of habit. My thesis is that during those decades – seen as a mere chapter in the longer history of modernity – the philosophical and literary theme of habit served not only as a way to understand and represent the ordinary dimension of life, but also as a means to develop an idea of human subjectivity that could mediate between the centrifugal and the centripetal tendencies that permeated the competing ideologies of the time. The crisis of subjectivity that characterized modernism and which has often been simplistically represented as a disintegration of the subject into irredeemably broken fragments, should rather be seen as the development of a dialectical idea of a “minor subject”, that is, an open, dynamic, multilayered subjectivity still endowed by a certain malleable consistency. Both modernist literature and its philosophical counterparts found in the “minor subject” (here in the sense of “subject matter”) of habit, the opportunity to investigate and represent the porosity between activity and passivity, volition and determinism, individual identity and social structures, that characterize this idea of subjectivity. I focus on three different representative – though not exhaustive – facets of the issue. In the first section, relying on Virginia Woolf's work, I highlight how some of the narrative techniques developed by Modernist writers can be seen as an attempt to give a plastic representation to the blurred boundaries of subjectivity as captured in the everyday existence of their characters. I then connect these innovations to the theory of habit of Samuel Butler, whom Woolf identified as one of the harbingers of modernity. In the second section I focus on Marcel Proust to discuss how modernist writers proved to be able to combine two opposed views of habit: on the one hand, the view of habit as purely mechanical and leading to inauthentic life; on the other, the idea of habit as essential to the human being's potential for self-perfecting and creativity. The third section is dedicated to addiction, seen as a form of habit in which the subject is radically torn between opposite forces. Following insights from Sigmund Freud's Beyond the Pleasure Principle, I interpret Italo Svevo's Zeno's Conscience as a meditation on how such a torn subjectivity manifests the essential incompleteness of the human subject and life's insuppressible nostalgia for the inorganic. Virginia Woolf’s blurred boundaries, Marcel Proust’s ambiguous authenticity, and Italo Svevo’s split selfhood are three interconnected facets of the modernists’ interest in the “minor subject” of habit. Investigating the interaction between the philosophical and the literary discourses on habit at the dawn of the twentieth century can contribute to a more nuanced reconstruction of a pivotal moment in the history of thought but also to the contemporary philosophical debate. Almost exactly one century later, the renewed interest in the theme of habit mirrors a situation in part similar to what characterized the ideological landscape of the time, as now too it is concerned with the attempt to reimagine a “minor subject” that mediates between the postmodern pulverization of identity and the temptation of reaffirming anachronistic forms of strong subjectivities

    Il ruolo dell’abitudine nella costruzione dell’identità morale in The Mill on the Floss e Middlemarch di George Eliot

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    What is the boundary between unconscious habits and conscious actions? This is the question that drives all of George Eliot’s poetics centered on the importance of habit in the construction of her characters’ moral identity. The aim of this article is to analyze the author’s answers in this regard through two of her formidable novels: The Mill on the Floss and Middlemarch. In the first work, recovering the image, of philosophical- psychological origin, of the mind as a channel and making use of the analogies between animal and human behavior, Eliot proposes imaginative experience as a means of developing new cognitive capacities. But it is in Middlemarch that Eliot adds a further piece: unhinging the misogynistic prejudices attached to the concept of habit typical of the strongly patriarchal culture of the Victorian age. Pointing her satirical pen at the habits of her characters, Eliot invites readers to a critical attitude toward their own habits. Reading thus becomes an opportunity to reflect on our pervasive habits and achieve that gradual change towards the construction of a more mature and conscious moral identity.What is the boundary between unconscious habits and conscious actions? This is the question that drives all of George Eliot’s poetics centered on the importance of habit in the construction of her characters’ moral identity. The aim of this article is to analyze the author’s answers in this regard through two of her formidable novels: The Mill on the Floss and Middlemarch. In the first work, recovering the image, of philosophical- psychological origin, of the mind as a channel and making use of the analogies between animal and human behavior, Eliot proposes imaginative experience as a means of developing new cognitive capacities. But it is in Middlemarch that Eliot adds a further piece: unhinging the misogynistic prejudices attached to the concept of habit typical of the strongly patriarchal culture of the Victorian age. Pointing her satirical pen at the habits of her characters, Eliot invites readers to a critical attitude toward their own habits. Reading thus becomes an opportunity to reflect on our pervasive habits and achieve that gradual change towards the construction of a more mature and conscious moral identity

    Article 9 of the E.C.H.R. in light of newer findings of the case law of the E.C.H.R. during the years 2018-2023

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    L’art. 9 della Convenzione E.D.U. secondo la giurisprudenza recente della Corte E.D.U. (2018-2023) ABSTRACT: The right to religious freedom is constantly changing, following the contemporary treatment of the religious phenomenon within the public sphere of the states. This finding is also evident in the ECHR's jurisprudence, which since the Kokkinakis case seems to have made great progress in the development of the more specific manifestations of religious freedom, such as religious autonomy. In this context, an attempt is made to draw conclusions regarding the right of religious freedom under the related ECHR’s case law. SOMMARIO: 1. Introduction - 2. Freedom of Assembly and Association - 3. Respect for family and private life - 4. Religious freedom in prison - 5. Religious Minorities: the example of Jehovah's Witnesses - 6. The example of Greece - 7. Conclusion

    Come perenne metamorfosi. Orazio Costa e la mimesi

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    Orazio Costa, theater director and teacher for over thirty years at the National Academy of Dramatic Arts in Rome, is the author of a pedagogical system called mimic method. It consisted of a theory and a practice aimed at revitalizing the concept of mimesis. The practice included exercises on identification with natural phenomena, necessary for staging dramas respectful of human nature and poetic inspiration. While Avant-gardes rejected art as imitation of an object, and the new theatrical forms refused the value of the dramaturgical text within the performance, Costa defended the role of literature and the representation of human events in the theatrical ritual. Despite the accusations of traditionalism, his idea of mimesis is absolutely in line with the twentieth- century reception of the notion. Like authors such as Benjamin, Adorno, Ricoeur, the director has analyzed mimesis as an innate behavior, and he based his aesthetic positions on this conception. For Costa, art is the wonderful metaphor of the encounter between the individual and nature, which pushes towards forms of expressions comprehensible to the community.Orazio Costa, theater director and teacher for over thirty years at the National Academy of Dramatic Arts in Rome, is the author of a pedagogical system called mimic method. It consisted of a theory and a practice aimed at revitalizing the concept of mimesis. The practice included exercises on identification with natural phenomena, necessary for staging dramas respectful of human nature and poetic inspiration. While Avant-gardes rejected art as imitation of an object, and the new theatrical forms refused the value of the dramaturgical text within the performance, Costa defended the role of literature and the representation of human events in the theatrical ritual. Despite the accusations of traditionalism, his idea of mimesis is absolutely in line with the twentieth- century reception of the notion. Like authors such as Benjamin, Adorno, Ricoeur, the director has analyzed mimesis as an innate behavior, and he based his aesthetic positions on this conception. For Costa, art is the wonderful metaphor of the encounter between the individual and nature, which pushes towards forms of expressions comprehensible to the community

    Il contributo della riflessione bioetica alla gender equality

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    Bioethics organized as an institutional discipline has given a relevant contribution to the identification of the critical aspects of the traditional, paternalistic relationship between doctors and patients. In this paradigm, patients are passive addressees of decisions concerning their health and life. The different bioethical paths that have contributed to defining the current model of care focused on patients’ autonomy have been enriched with the feminist perspective and the reflection on the ethic of care. The feminist bioethics has highlighted the need for overcoming the view of an abstract patient and for considering her in the concrete dimension of existence, with her differences and specific needs. The focus on the peculiar female condition has promoted a general reconfiguration of the category of vulnerable subjects in medicine. The paper will try to explain the main steps of this analysis.La riflessione bioetica, organizzata in disciplina istituzionalizzata, ha dato un rilevante contributo all’identificazione delle criticità della tradizionale relazione di cura in chiave paternalistica, che vede il paziente come destinatario passivo di decisioni sulla propria salute e sulla propria esistenza. Le diverse vie, che la bioetica ha percorso nel definire l’attuale modello di cura in cui il paziente ha il diritto di esercitare la propria autonomia, si sono arricchite della visione femminista e dell’etica della cura. La bioetica femminista ha messo in luce la necessità di una configurazione del paziente come soggetto calato nella concreta dimensione del vivere, con le sue differenze e le sue specifiche esigenze. Dando voce alle specificità della condizione femminile ha posto le basi per una generale riconfigurazione della categoria dei soggetti vulnerabili in medicina. Nel presente contributo, si cercherà di percorrere i principali passaggi di questo percorso di analisi

    Sulla nuova edizione del «Giornale di guerra e di prigionia», «Il castello di Udine» e altre questioni gaddiane

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    Il saggio prende in esame la recente edizione del Giornale di guerra e di prigionia di Carlo Emilio Gadda (Adelphi 2023), a cura di Paola Italia, mettendone in luce le novità e le differenze rispetto al testo critico procurato da Dante Isella (Garzanti 1992). I quaderni riemersi nel 2019, redatti da Gadda nel novembre-dicembre 1918 durante la prigionia a Celle Lager, rivelano dati cruciali sul suo rapporto conflittuale con Ugo Betti e sulle connessioni tra il Giornale e le prose belliche del Castello di Udine (Edizioni di Solaria 1934).   Delving Into the New Edition of Carlo Emilio Gadda’s “Giornale di guerra e di prigionia” and its Relation to “Il castello di Udine” and Other Works The essay examines the latest edition of Carlo Emilio Gadda’s Giornale di guerra e di prigionia (Adelphi 2023), curated by Paola Italia, highlighting its innovations and differences compared to the critical text provided by Dante Isella (Garzanti 1992). The notebooks, unearthed in 2019 and penned by Gadda during his imprisonment in Celle Lager in November-December 1918, unveil crucial insights into his conflicted relationship with Ugo Betti and the interrelations between the Giornale and the war-related prose later collected in Il castello di Udine (Edizioni di Solaria 1934)

    Una società scientifica contro le mafie

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    This contribution focuses on the role that SISMA, the learned society on mafias and anti-mafias, can play in the academic context. Three expected functions are emphasised: enhancing the interdisciplinary and potentially transdisciplinary matrix of research; deepening conceptual analysis as a prerequisite for grasping causal links with contiguous phenomena; the necessary link with anti-mafia policies, as the potential core for the creation of an epistemic community.Questo contributo si concentra sul ruolo che SISMA, la società scientifica di studi su mafie e antimafia, può svolgere nel contesto accademico. Se ne evidenziano tre possibili funzioni: valorizzare la matrice interdisciplinare e potenzialmente transdisciplinare della ricerca; approfondire l’analisi concettuale come premessa per cogliere i nessi causali con fenomeni ad essa contigui; il legame necessario con le politiche antimafia, quale potenziale nucleo costitutivo di una comunità epistemica

    What is real in hyperrealism? Pictorial representation and layers of the visible

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    American hyperrealist painting is one of the most famous phenomena of American culture in general, but also one of the most difficult to fit into the art-historical canon. Hyperrealism causes difficulties in interpretation because it is placed between traditional mimetic painting skills and the imaginary of American popular culture. In this article, we will suggest that hyperrealism may be evaluated as primarily a philosophical problem of the understanding of reality and its transformation into a pictorial surface. We will try to foreground the neglected possibility that the “excess of the real” in a painting can be in some allegorical function: as the opposite of reality, in other words, as an absence rather than a presence. Moreover, we will point out the twofold contingency of the hyperrealist pictures: as a philosophical platform for the study of pictorial representation on the one hand and as an evidence that there is no universal theory of pictorial depiction that would establish a connection between extra-pictorial reality and representation on the other. The article will analyze why hyperrealism as an artistic style is not crucially defined by the problem of mimesis, but rather by the problem of (dis)continuity in regard to reality. Instead of asking why hyperrealist paintings are so close to human perception of the world, we try to unveil consequences of its playing on the edges of complex systems such as representation, depiction, similarity, imagination, simulation and recognition. Referring to the aspects of reality in painting, photography and conceptual art we will consider to what extent theory can influence a seemingly straightforward artistic phenomenon to gain a different kind of relevance, while providing insights into the possibilities of viewing hyperrealist paintings as both part of the cultural imaginary and philosophical objects.American hyperrealist painting is one of the most famous phenomena of American culture in general, but also one of the most difficult to fit into the art-historical canon. Hyperrealism causes difficulties in interpretation because it is placed between traditional mimetic painting skills and the imaginary of American popular culture. In this article, we will suggest that hyperrealism may be evaluated as primarily a philosophical problem of the understanding of reality and its transformation into a pictorial surface. We will try to foreground the neglected possibility that the “excess of the real” in a painting can be in some allegorical function: as the opposite of reality, in other words, as an absence rather than a presence. Moreover, we will point out the twofold contingency of the hyperrealist pictures: as a philosophical platform for the study of pictorial representation on the one hand and as an evidence that there is no universal theory of pictorial depiction that would establish a connection between extra-pictorial reality and representation on the other. The article will analyze why hyperrealism as an artistic style is not crucially defined by the problem of mimesis, but rather by the problem of (dis)continuity in regard to reality. Instead of asking why hyperrealist paintings are so close to human perception of the world, we try to unveil consequences of its playing on the edges of complex systems such as representation, depiction, similarity, imagination, simulation and recognition. Referring to the aspects of reality in painting, photography and conceptual art we will consider to what extent theory can influence a seemingly straightforward artistic phenomenon to gain a different kind of relevance, while providing insights into the possibilities of viewing hyperrealist paintings as both part of the cultural imaginary and philosophical objects

    Il sistema della mimesis in J. Rancière: tra estetica e politica

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    The article proposes a re-reading of the concept of partage of the sensible in the light of the relationship that regimes of identification of art maintain with mimesis. In this regard, the article retraces the analysis proposed by Rancière of the ethical regime of images, of the representative regime and of the aesthetic regime with the aim of showing the terms in which the system of mimesis intervenes in the definition of the aesthetic-political space we inhabit.The article proposes a re-reading of the concept of partage of the sensible in the light of the relationship that regimes of identification of art maintain with mimesis. In this regard, the article retraces the analysis proposed by Rancière of the ethical regime of images, of the representative regime and of the aesthetic regime with the aim of showing the terms in which the system of mimesis intervenes in the definition of the aesthetic-political space we inhabit

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