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Reading: Adorati Toponimi: Tracking Ideological Space in Pier Paolo Pasolini


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Adorati Toponimi: Tracking Ideological Space in Pier Paolo Pasolini


Fabio Vighi

University of Portsmouth, GB
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Fabio Vighi’s paper examines Pasolini’s extensive use of toponyms taking into consideration not only the author’s early poetry in dialects but also his letters and articles. Vighi traces the theoretical link between the poetry written in the region of Friuli and Pasolini’s literary production in Rome. The paper’s argument is that the different topoi in Pasolini’s texts acquire a strong ideological significance on the one hand as conventional signs with specific and clear topographical connotations and on the other as adorati toponimi (adored toponyms) aspiring to become the very object they name.

In this light, Vighi argues, Pasolini’s toponyms embody the search for a privileged utopian space where the reconciliation between nature and culture is possible. The paper shows how Casarsa, the village of Pasolini’s mother, is accorded by the writer a mythological aura, whilst the whole of Friuli provides him with a romantic, dream-like subject matter evoked by the use of toponyms. Vighi asserts that Pasolini’s interest in toponymy gives him the possibility of recognising an almost mythical link existing between the physiognomy of the inhabitants of Friulan villages and the villages themselves. Thus, these villages are raised in Pasolini’s early poetry to the status of animated beings, capable of giving life. But Vighi argues that the author’s love for villages and rural communities underpins a critique of modern society which can be seen in Pasolini’s dislike of cities, or at least, in his unease with Friulan urban spaces.

Vighi argues against the traditionally held view that Pasolini’s move to Rome caused a break with Communist ideology. The paper asserts instead that Rome enabled him to develop the theoretical potential of his Friulan poetics, since it was here that his critique of modern society took on a more socially oriented stance. In Rome it is the borgate, the slums in the Northern part of the capital, that provide a link between the country and the city, and elicit the use of toponyms, and here too the toponyms go beyond their topographical value to achieve an exclusively utopian quality. The paper concludes by emphasising how it was at this point that Pasolini, moving away from orthodox Marxism and Gramscian philosophy, called for a revision of left-wing thought which would include a category of irrationality, a concept that Vighi makes very clear Pasolini could never positively define in his work and that proved to be especially problematic at a time when the Italian Communist Party had a very inflexible approach to socio-political and aesthetic problems.

How to Cite: Vighi, F. “Adorati Toponimi: Tracking Ideological Space in Pier Paolo Pasolini”. New Readings, vol. 5, 2000, pp. [30–48]. DOI:
Published on 01 Jan 2000.
Peer Reviewed


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