Literature as the Experience of Boundary Crossing: Gadda's Descent to Hell and the Solution to That Awful Mess of Via Merulana Academic Article uri icon


  • I will attempt a reading of Carlo Emilio Gadda's second and last novel, Quer pasticciaccio brutto de via Merulana, published by Garzanti in 1957, through an interpretation of its vexata quaestio par excellence: Pasticciaccio's supposedly open ending. Virtually everyone interested in Gadda, whose number has grown considerably during the last two decades on both sides of the Atlantic, has written on the subject I am addressing: Gadda's ending to That Awful Mess of Via Merulana. My [End Page 109] analysis will focus mainly on the last three chapters of the novel and it will interlace with Dante's Comedy, but also with Alessandro Manzoni, Roberto Longhi, Virgil, and Homer. Joining a recent although varied critical effort, I will argue that my findings prompt a reassessment not only of Pasticciaccio but of the whole body of Gadda's work; the relation between Pasticciaccio and the rest of his works; the nature of Gadda's fascination with Fascism; his relation to Neorealism; the relation between creative and reflective prose and, last, but not least, [End Page 110] the issue of gender boundaries in the economy of Gadda's literary enterprise.

published proceedings

  • MLN

author list (cited authors)

  • Marchesini, M.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Marchesini, Manuela

publication date

  • January 1, 2004 11:11 AM

published in

  • MLN  Journal