free web hosting | free hosting | Web Hosting | Free Website Submission | shopping cart | php hosting

Cultural Diversities East and West: Postcommunism, Postcolonialism and Ethnicity

Central European University, 22 July-2 August 2002

Fellow profile



Country Italy
Residence Fonte del Marmi, Pisa, Tuscany
Nationality Italian
Sex Male
Age 27 (still)
Educational background PhD student in Modern Literature, Università di Pisa, Facoltà di Lettere, Italy (graduation expected 2003)
B.A. in English, Italian and Spanish, Università di Pisa, Facoltà_di_Lettere, Italy (2000)
Present position Assistant teacher
PhD student
Employer Università di Pisa, Facoltà di Lettere, Dipartimento di Anglistica
Experience abroad From 1997 to 1998 I lived in Ireland and taught Italian as a language assistant-teacher in secondary schools (The Donahies Community School, Dublin 13 and St. Joseph College, Borrisoleigh, Co. Tipperary).
Research interests Comparison between Irish & Czech literatures. Postcolonial theory & ethnicity. Cartography.
Current research Contemporary Irish Fiction
Conferences, seminars...
  • VIII Convegno Internazionale di Onomastica e Letteratura ; Title of my talk: "La denominazione da parte del personaggio fra segno e tranello"
  • 2. Magical Realism in Contemporary Literature in English
  • 2001, July — Trieste, Italy — The 5th Trieste Joyce School
  • 2002, April. — Aberdeen, Scotland — Cross-Currents Conference — Title of my talk: "Topological Structures in McCabe’s The Butcher Boy"
Professional affiliation O&L (Onomastica e Letteratura)
Publications  —
Excerpts from publications Topological Structures in McCabe’s The Butcher Boy(abstract)

I have chosen to analyse The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe since I regard it as paradigmatic of a particular kind of employment of space in literary texts. Francie’s picaresque journey through Ireland and Irish society of the Sixties touches itineraries, which are geographical as well as cultural. I actually use the term “co-ordinates” because it stresses the function of these places and routes as indicators for a correct location within a geographical framework and an ideological system seen as a network of semiotic relations.

The different levels (political, social, philosophical, artistic, literary…) of meaning are activated by the emergence of spatial co-ordinates conveying cultural connotations and the actual connotations upon which McCabe has constructed the inner logic of the narration. Decoding these connotations into meaningful sets introduces us through the semiotic space, which organises the plot.

Surprisingly enough, a cartographic reading of Francie’s travels drives the reader to the discovery of a star-shaped map. Within this map, the repetition (seven times) of Francie’s leaving and subsequent return home, along with a plot of promises, retrieve the Joycean notion of paralysis and develops it into a complex anthropological condition depicting a new historical context. Moreover, the centre of the star, placed in a quiet rural backwater, and identified as the sociological reason for Francie’s departures, becomes a post-modern “omphalos” and reveals dysfunctional society as a key feature of small-town Ireland.

There are other crucial co-ordinates, some unavoidable, others estranging, that emerge from the text: Dublin, London, Irish social institutions (schools, prisons, orphanages and mental homes), Timbuktu and Bundoran. These co-ordinates work together with the setting and structuring of an honest sociological reflection which explores the centrifugal force at work in a claustrophobic centre and goes on to suggest new ways for a frank debate over human and Irish identity.

Case study for the summer course  —
Statement of interest Postcolonialism and Ethnicity are central figures to both my researches on Contemporary Irish Fiction, and on the relationships between Cartography and Literature. With this respect, Prof. O'Hare's presence has been crucially important to my choice of this course.

Moreover, I'm a passionate lover of Bohumil Hrabal's novels and since 2000 I'm attending a Post-Graduate course on Czech Literature at Pisa University. My aim is to compare the historical, sociological, political, and philosophycal circumstances which underlie the Irish and the Czech postmodern literatures. As they are both characterized by ambivalent attitudes of commitment and disillusionment, attitudes obviously following the collapse of the English Colonialism in Ireland, and of the Soviet Imperialism in the Czech Republic, I reckon there are many similarities as well as many differences between the reactions of the Irish and Czech writers. To compare their styles, themes, and outputs can be crucial to a reassessment of the contemporary literary theory and criticism; particularly in relation to Postcolonial Studies, Cultural Studies, and Postmodernism. It hasn’t come to me as a surprise that most of the articles and books reccommended for the course are already part of the bibliography I’m studying for my PhD thesis.

Personal message  —
Plans for the future To teach courses on: Postcolonial Literatures, Contemporary Irish Literature.
Hobbies  —
Contact E-mail to: (home): ; (university):

 Now, please add more information about yourself by filling in this form.

Previous: Joseph Benatov.
Next: Carmen Borbely Back to fellows' list.