“Big Bang o Altro”
About the Beginning and the End in Eugenio Montale’s Poetry
In Eugenio Montale’s poetry of the “second season” (Satura, Diari, Quaderno, Altri Versi: 1960-1980 ca.) the topic of the Origin and End of the Universe, the World, and Man is pervasive and almost obsessive. The poet vets scientific hypotheses (Big Bang, Big Crunch, steady and static Universe), religious narratives (Creation, Apocalypse, Judgement, and the “Four Last Things”), ancient myths (Ekpyrosis and/or Ragnarökkr-Götterdämmerung) in a highly personal and original way. His style, linguistic register and lexicon are deliberately lower; the tone more colloquial and ordinary, ironic, irreverent, debunking, and light-hearted (unlike the higher seriousness of his first three collections Ossi-Occasioni-Bufera). The effects are of intentional de-mythization, parody, trivialization and mockery. Nonetheless, Montale never falters in his punctiliousness, intellectual honesty and rigour, and rare prescience. His attitude mixes Stoic acceptance, superior detachment and deep involvement, anti-dogmatism, irony and self-irony. His main instrument is the word, the expression of a lucid intelligence and of a stringent thought, in an intellectual and verbal tour de force which sees the poet with his head high in his personal “fight with the Angel”.
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