Keywords: autobiographical prose, Eugenio Montale, Antonio Delfini, the Italian literature of the 20 th century, music in literature, painting in literature, the problem of memory.
For citation:

Saburova L.E. Music and Painting in the Autobiographical Prose of Eugenio Montale and Antonio Delfini (The Butterfly of Dinard, One Story). Studia Litterarum, 2019, vol. 4, no 3, pp. 124–135. (In Russ.)

DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2019-4-3-124-135

Author: Liudmila E. Saburova
Information about the author:

Liudmila E. Saburova, PhD in Philology, Senior Researcher, А.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25 а, 121069 Moscow, Russia; Lecturer, Russian State University for the Humanities, Miusskaya sq. 6, 125993 Moscow, Russia.

ORCID ID: 0000-0001-7635-6060

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Received: February 21, 2019
Published: September 25, 2019
Issue: 2019 Vol. 4, №3
Department: World literature
Pages: 124-135
DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2019-4-3-124-135
UDK: 821.131.1
BBK: 83.3(4Ита)6


In Montale’s autobiographical book The Butterfly of Dinard, four short stories are devoted to the theme of opera singing learning. Art lives only thanks to the creators of undervalued works. Success is due only to a happy occasion that falls to the share of the few. The poet perceives the paintings of unsuccessful artists as living beings that brighten up his loneliness in the new mechanistic world. Unlucky singers, composers and artists are described with persistent empathy. Works of art serve as a link between the present and the past. The manner of A. Delfini, who created impressionistic sketches addressed primarily to the sensual perception of the reader, was understood and appreciated only post mortem. In the autobiographical story “One Story” Delfini explains the principles of his poetics to the reader, and doing it, he resorts to images of fine art. With the help of a well-known musical motif, he reveals the reason for his disappointment not only in the surrounding reality but also in himself. Thus, in the visual images of paintings and in the melodies of popular songs, he sees an opportunity to convey his personal perception of reality.


1 Bushen A. D. Sila sud’by: Opera D. Verdi [The Power of fate: opera by G. Verdi]. Leningrad, Leningr. Filarmoniia Publ., 1934. 39 p. (In Russ.)

2 Montale E. Dinarskaia babochka [The butterfly of Dinard], transl. from Italian by E. Solonovich. Moscow, “Reka vremen” Publ., 2010. 248 p. (In Russ.)

3 Delfini A. Diari 1927–1961 [opera postuma a cura di Delfini G. e Ginzburg N.]. Torino, Einaudi, 1982. 417 p. (In Italian)

4 Delfini A. Una storia. In: Delfini A. I racconti. Milano, Garzanti, 1963, pp. 7–96. (In Italian)

5 Di Capua G. Faccetta nera: canti dell’ebbrezza fascista: saggi critici, testi, spartiti, commenti. Valentano, Scipioni, 2000. 112 p. (In Italian)

6 Garboli C. Prefazione. In: Delfini A. Diari 1927–1961 [opera postuma a cura di Delfini G. e Ginzburg N.]. Torino, Einaudi, 1982, pp. V–XLVI. (In Italian)

7 Luperini R. Storia di Montale. Roma, Laterza, 2006. 261 p. (In Italian)

8 Montale E. Il secondo mestiere: arte, musica, società [opera postuma a cura di G. Zampa]. Milano, A. Mondadori, 1996. 1981 p. (In Italian)

9 Montale E. Immagini di una vita [opera postuma a cura di Contorbia F.]. Milano, Librex A. Mondadori, 1985. 326 p. (In Italian)

10 Montale E. La bufera e altro. Venezia, Neri Pozza, 1956. 139 p. (In Italian)

11 Montale E. Ossi di seppia. Milano, A. Mondadori, 1948. 148 p. (In Italian)

12 Montale E. Prose e racconti [a cura e con introduzione di Marco Forti; note ai testi e varianti a cura di Luisa Previtera]. Milano, A. Mondadori, 1995. 1253 p. (In Italian)

13 Saba U. Il canzoniere (1900–1947). Torino, G. Einaudi, 1948. 628 p. (In Italian)