Riflessi del mito di Demetra e Persefone nella Digitale purpurea pascoliana

Giorgia Giaccardi


This paper aims to highlight an undetected reminiscence of the myth of Demeter and Persephone (in addition to a popular fairy tales’ topic) in the Italian poem Digitale Purpurea, composed by Giovanni Pascoli in 1898.
The influence of the Homeric Hymn to Demeter will be demonstrated through precise textual references. To endorse my position, I will also examine a preparatory chart collecting the titles of Pascoli’s never written compositions, among which a ‘Persefone’ stands out.
Claudianus’ version of the abduction, as presented in his De Raptu Proserpinae, appears to affect the author’s writing, too. Pascoli himself, indeed, called this Latin reinterpretation ‘one of the most poetic’.
In the last part of the paper, I’m going to examine a suggestion about the figure of Flora as presented in another poem by Pascoli (the Hymnus in Romam). If, as we believe, the myth of the deity was known by Pascoli in the Ovidian version, in which the goddess helps Iuno to get pregnant through a flower (Fast. 5. 251-256), it is possibile to detect a link between the history of Flora and the character of Rachele, who in the Digitale Purpurea makes the subversive act of touching a forbidden flower, an image that hides erotic implications.

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