Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Romance Languages

First Advisor

Kevin Brownlee


My dissertation aims to describe and investigate the influence and legacy of the intellectual and cultural work of Roberto Bazlen. Interlocutor and consultant of many of the major writers and intellectuals of his time, highly valued publishing adviser, and author of few posthumously published writings, Bazlen, as Eugenio Montale recalled, “spent his life with the desire of leaving no tangible traces of his own transit”. He is nevertheless regarded today as a key figure of twentieth-century Italian literature. Still, because of the very nature of his intellectual activity, his figure and work have been studied only recently, and partially. In the first part of my dissertation I analyze the critical and novelistic representations of Bazlen, whose persona, in spite of his notorious discretion about his life, rose to a legendary status while he was still alive. In the second part of my study I focus on Bazlen’s collaborations with writers such as Italo Svevo, Pier Antonio Quarantotti Gambini, and Eugenio Montale, and I analyze the nature of his work and interventions in their writings. I subsequently address Bazlen’s publishing activity and the criteria and praxis behind his editorial opinions. In the third and final section of my dissertation I finally examine Bazlen’s writings as posthumously collected fragments of a post-humanistic thought deliberately and necessarily articulated in a non-organic fashion. Through the study of the traces collected in the partial and inevitably unfaithful realizations of Bazlen’s legacy, I aim to better comprehend the reasons behind his refusal of literary production and the characteristics of his primarily maieutic intellectual activity.