This book presents a new insight into the narrative works of the Italian author Massimo Bontempelli and in particular his stories written between 1919 and 1929. These works constitute a crucial moment in Bontempelli’s literary career; one which is generally considered to be a period of experimentation halfway between his so-called ‘classical’ period and his ‘mature’ period. This book fills an important gap in Bontempelli scholarship by providing an unprecedented critical study of his works from this period of innovation.
As the chapters of this book unfold, the reader becomes familiar not only with Bontempelli’s short stories and with his experimentations but also with the main devices of one of the most popular genres in which today’s authors are writing: metafiction. The application of the contemporary critical notion of metafiction to this body of narrative works enables one to reflect and discuss captivating and complex problems of fictional theory and fiction writing, and at the same time give new nuances to Bontempelli’s fiction. As the book will make clear, the texts become enriched with new qualities and meaning, and reveal fascinating and intriguing artistic skill.
The book explores metafictional features such as intertextuality, the attention drawn to the writer as he is actively and visibly engaged in the creation of his stories, comments on literary criticism included within the text, the relation between art and reality, and magic realism. These metafictional features are presented in a clear and lucid fashion that is accessible to both a scholarly and broader readership.