This first English-language monograph on de Roberto’s work offers a comprehensive examination of his novels and of his journalistic and theoretical writings on narrative art.
The novels of Federico De Roberto: From Naturalism to Modernism places his masterpiece, I Viceré, within the framework of his endeavours to advance the modern novel and reconcile external observation and psychological introspection.
It questions claims which define the author’s literary production as fragmented and shows instead how his fiction reveals coherent poetics stemming from a growing awareness of the impact of subjectivity, which drives him to delve more deeply into his characters’ psychology, exposing the breakdown of positivist thought which assumed the existence of a concrete, empirical reality that could be studied.
In his reviews of contemporary writers and essays on narrative art, De Roberto reflects on how the individual author’s ideology, temperament and natural tendencies impact on subject matter and its technical execution in a reciprocal determining relationship. A major line of investigation in this study is an examination of how De Roberto’s discourse on the phenomenology of love functions as an exploration of the unfathomable existential dilemma and also how his misogynistic attitude towards women shaped the construction of the female characters in his novels.