Serena Demichelis

Foto Demichelis dipartimento,  April 16, 2020
PhD student
Ph.D. programme in Foreign Literatures, Languages and Linguistics - 35° ciclo (October 1, 2019 - September 30, 2022)
Academic sector
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Ph.D. programme in Foreign Literatures, Languages and Linguistics - 35° ciclo (October 1, 2019 - September 30, 2022)

Doctorate research program
The eight short stories and novellas by J.D. Salinger commonly grouped under the label “Glass family saga” are at the core of my research project. These works will be analyzed from a linguistic, stylistic and literary perspective: theoretical and methodological frameworks belong to the fields of literary theory (in particular psychoanalytical criticism, narratology and Jewish-American studies) and Digital Humanities (Corpus stylistics, characterization studies, narrative progression). The Glass stories are all concerned with the members of an Irish-Jewish New York family of geniuses and outcasts, self-proclaimed “freaks” struggling to find their place in the world and coping with different forms of grief: I maintain that the saga can be read as the enactment of an identity dilemma from a psychological, narrative and cultural point of view – hence, the focus on metanarrative strategies, which are functional to both the representation of author and characters’ desires and the handling of complex cultural issues, such as that of Jewish-Americanness. Methodologically, literary theory will proceed hand-in-hand with the classification of characterization strategies – an objective pursued through tools belonging to the field of Corpus Stylistics, in particular software for the automated reading, processing and tagging of texts. Further investigation will finally be devoted to literary genre: is this a family saga and if so, how? Are the stories part of a cycle and how does this reflect on the style? Is Franny and Zooey a novel? The analysis would ideally result in a complete and exhaustive picture of the saga in relation to Salinger’s remaining production (including those works which will hopefully be published by 2022, edited by his son) and to criticism on the author, which has often favored a biographical reading instead of a more properly literary one.


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