Visione fluida e natura morta. Rilke a Napoli

Sergio Corrado


Rilke is in Naples between 1906 and 1907, while he writes the New Poems (Neue Gedichte), among which three of them contemplate the Neapolitan subject. In Easter Preparations (Vor-Ostern) the chaotic street life does not encourage aesthetic staring, and so it undermines the paradigm of Dinggedicht. The fact that this crisis begins in Naples is confirmed by a short prose Rilke writes on fish exposed by a Neapolitan fishmonger. Here Rilke proposes the outline of a theory of vision, suggesting a relationship between the perceiving subject and perceived object, that is now incompatible with the one that supports the procedures of Dinggedicht: the images dissolved in the liquid medium are not focused by the fish with perceptual operations, but they flow up to their eyes, functioning — as we would put it today — as digital devices. Consequently, this is how the intransitive mode of the ‘Open’, and the animal as a model to overcome the intentional consciousness come now into play. These themes turn out to be central in the Duino Elegies (Duineser Elegien).


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