17. Subverting Masculinity or Suppressing the Unmanly? Gender Alterity in Palazzeschi and Capuana’s Treatment of the Incorporeal Man

Subverting Masculinity or Suppressing the Unmanly? Gender Alterity in Palazzeschi and Capuana’s Treatment of the Incorporeal Man

by Martina O’Leary

“Subverting Masculinity or Suppressing the Unmanly?” presents a critical examination and comparison of unreal corporeal depictions of masculinity in Palazzeschi’s Il codice di Perelà and Capuana’s ‘L’invisibile’. These works present strikingly similar protagonists, who themselves affirm the attribute of lightness to be their defining characteristic, and who are made of, or resemble, wisps of smoke. This ‘lightness’ and delicacy is in direct opposition to the patriarchal male archetype, and it is evident from their treatment that Capuana uses this deviation to present his character as depraved and unnatural, while Palazzeschi uses his protagonist’s dissimilarity to emphasize his superiority, presenting him as a possible saviour. This investigation explores the poetics involved in articulating issues of transgressive gender and sexuality through the allegorical aspect of the fantasy genre.

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