<b>ContaminAzioni e AddomesticaMenti: <i>wilderness</i> e follia ne <i>L’isola di Sukwann</i> di David Vann</b> // Wilderness and madness in <i>L'isola di Sukwann</i> // Barbarie y locura en <i>L'isola di Sukwann</i>

  • Daniela Fargione University of Torino, Italy
Keywords: Wilderness, ContaminAction, Nature and Madness, Materiality, ContaminAcción, Naturaleza y locura, Materia

Abstract

Abstract

In Addio alla natura (2010), a provocative essay that has enflamed a lively debate in Italy, semiologist Gianfranco Marrone argues that taking leave from Nature is the only effective way to save the environment, our human lives, and our future. By contrast, in David Vann’s Sukkwan Island, the two male protagonists (a depressed absent father and his immature son) choose Alaska’s wilderness as their ideal place for personal escapes, mental regenerations, and new beginnings. What I intend to demonstrate in this essay is how both arguments - a world without Nature and a Nature without human beings - are inevitably doomed to fail. What I propose, instead, is an idea of ContaminAction, i.e. a gradual awareness of complex issues, which need to be faced from a multiplicity of perspectives and solved through the active participation of both the human and non-human agents of our societies. Eventually, the analysis of Vann’s novella perfectly illustrates how literary texts can affect behavioral models and lifestyles. By touching upon the level of the human conscience and individual responsibility, in fact, this literary work not only reflects cogent ecocritical issues but also their practical fallouts on the reality lying beyond the page. Finally, the interconnections of nature and madness demonstrate how the redemptive power of both nature and fiction cannot transcend past errors, familial dysfunctions, self-obsessions, and a haunting sense of doom.

 

Resumen

En Addio alla Natura (2010), un ensayo provocador que enardeció un debate animado en Italia, el semiólogo Gianfranco Marrone sostiene que alejarse de la Naturaleza es la única manera efectiva de salvar el medio ambiente, nuestras vidas humanas y nuestro futuro. En contraste, en Sukkwan Island de David Vann, los dos protagonistas masculinos (un padre ausente y deprimido y su hijo inmaduro) eligen la tierra salvaje de Alaska como lugar ideal para escapes personales, regeneraciones mentales y nuevos inicios. Es mi intención demostrar que las dos sugerencias – un mundo sin Naturaleza y una Naturaleza sin seres humanos – están inevitablemente condenadas a fracasar. Lo que yo propongo en cambio es una idea de ContaminAcción, es decir, una conciencia gradual de problemas complejos que hay que encarar desde varias perspectivas y solucionar a través de la participación activa tanto de los agentes humanos como de los no-humanos de nuestras sociedades. Finalmente, el análisis de la novela de Vann demuestra perfectamente la forma en que los textos literarios pueden afectar modelos de comportamiento y estilos de vida. Haciendo referencia al nivel de la conciencia humana y responsabilidad individual, esta obra literaria no solo medita sobre problemas ecocríticos convincentes sino también sobre sus efectos secundarios en la realidad extra literaria. Para finalizar, las conexiones entre naturaleza y locura demuestran que el poder de redención de la naturaleza y la ficción no pueden trascender los errores del pasado, las disfunciones familiares, las auto-obsesiones, y un sentido inquietante de perdición

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Author Biography

Daniela Fargione, University of Torino, Italy

University of Torino, Italy

daniela.fargione@unito.it

Daniela Fargione was a Fulbright scholar at the University of Massachusetts (1993-1999), where she earned her MA and her Ph.D in Comparative Literature. She is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Torino, Italy, where she teaches Anglo-American Language and Literatures. Her main research interests include: Translation Studies (theory and practice of literary translation), the interconnections of modern and contemporary American literature and the other arts (music and photography in particular), literature and madness, and ecocriticism. She is author of Cynthia Ozick: Orthodoxy and Irriverence. A Critical Study (Aracne, 2005), Giardini e labirinti: l’America di E.A. Poe (Celid, 2005), of several translations into Italian, and critical essays.

Published
2013-05-01
Section
General Section 4.1 (Spring 2013)