Metropoli, Luigi (2008) Le poesie e canzoni di Rocco Galdieri. [Ph.D. thesis]
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My research investigates the figure of Rocco Galdieri, focusing his lyrics and songs. It is necessary to deepen the fin de siècle cultural background in Naples and try to follow the social changes which has generated new artistic and literary tendencies in the early XX century, in order to define Galdieri's outline adequately.
After Italian Unity the perception of local speeches changed deeply, because of a wider consciousness, among the speakers, of the institutional role Italian language was playing. Consequently, dialects have lived a slow decline, which have led them to a lower rank. In a literary context, dialects must have found new places, too. Neapolitan dialect, however, had been having a wide fortune in literature, thanks to the works of brilliant predecessors (Giovan Battista Basile and Giulio Cesare Cortese, among them) and to a helpful combination between poems and songs.
Moreover, the link between high and popular lyric, and between music and literature - typical of XVI century, thanks to artists like Velardiniello, and of XVIII century, thanks to the arie of the Opera Buffa - has stimulated the rich production of verses in the golden age of Neapolitan poetry (1880-1930).
The study starts from the cultural and literary background of the late XIX century, in Naples - the Italian Paris, the town of cafè-chantants, of Caffè Gambrinus and Salone Margherita, of the reviews - analyzing the places which enlivened the city, approaching all those men who have led the artistic and intellectual scene: these factors have allowed to complete the puzzle about the relations among Neapolitan poets and their lyrical style, whose features are the exulting love, the rich chromatic energy and the too melodic prosody.
When Galdieri - Rambaldo, the pseudonym he used - started to write his first vernacular works, in the early XX century, the Neapolitan poetical scene was ruled by Salvatore Di Giacomo, whose art has influenced younger poets. Such a great artist has obscured all other lyrical poets, mesmerizing the interest of critics and obtaining their appreciation.
Comparing Galdieri's lyrics to the Neapolitan models, following his path and developments, starting from the relations with no-vernacular lyrical tendencies, is the first step which has led them out of oblivion.
Galdieri, thanks to his mood looking for interior analysis and not for melody - renouncing the Neapolitan sensuality, the melodic accent, the enchant of singing - was the first poet trying to go over «digiacomism» and its conventions, renewing the Neapolitan lyric and leading it to a new literary context.
The most important chapters of the study investigate the texts of the two volumes published by Galdieri: Poesie (1914) and Nuove Poesie (1919). They define his poetical path from the origins to the last poems and songs, written just before he died, in 1923, because of a long illness which afflicted his lungs.
His bitter irony, sometimes cynical, mood takes his works to a new dimension, closer to the XX century suggestions, unknown to the contemporary and previous Neapolitan poets: His poetry is the result of changed social conditions and of a sad personal life.
His fear of dying - main theme of his poetry - the illness, the sad historical context, ruled by the I World War, have brought him to refuse the pathetic mood, the exulting eros which opposes the interior meditation: he chose a colloquial and letter-writing style, for his first book, then he found his shelter in short, aphoristic poems, which characterize his second volume. In the second period Galdieri looks for an impersonal style, trying to neutralize the first person of his lyrics, in order to find a universal voice, trustee of an ancient sapience. His last lyrics, the more personal ones, are based on dialogs about Death.
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