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Tiresiasí Gaze: Joyce, Rossellini and the Iconology of the Dead

Text focuses on the deliberation of transtextuality and literary/filmic feeling in The Dead by James Joyce and Voyage to Italy (Viaggio in Italia 1953) by Robert Rossellini. Rosselliniís film, shot in Naples, staring Ingrid Bergman and George Sanders in roles of the middle age couple Katherine and Alex Joyce, has only one scene that openly evokes The Dead. Despite that fact, the author points out that the theme of Rosselliniís film stemmed precisely from that segment, and that the author used Joycian intertext as the starting point from which he attempted self-reflexive meditation on the nature of memory and film image. Reading Voyage to Italy in the context of Mihail Iampolskiís theory of intertextuality, the author also wants to indicate that Rosselliniís deliberated quotation of Joyce encompasses and elaborates some of the themes of Joyceís short story more dynamically that the other, more renowned adaptation, John Hustonís esteemed parting work from 1987, The Dead. Considering that it was a direct adaptation, Hustonís film The Dead lacks the intertextual resonance that marks Trip to Italy and his complexly nuanced connection with Joyceís story, although the author does not consider Hustonís film to be aesthetically inferior to Rosselliniís. In his review, the author deals exclusively with the Italian film considering that its relation with The Dead had so far been unjustly disregarded, and that, contrary to Hustonís film, it distanced itself from Joyce so as to emphasize the game of transtextuality. Rosselliniís film uses The Dead as the origin for creative thinking about ideas from the story, and faithfully relates its spirit. Finally, the text is trying to show how deeply the phenomenon of transtextuality and emotions are interconnected, and reveal how quotation, as an endless concentric structure, multiplies the meanings of hypotext and hypertext.

Asbjorn Gronstad

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