CFP Monographic section “Eros and Melancholy in Modern and Contemporary Poetry”


This CFP focuses on the relationship between Eros and Melancholy in modern and contemporary poetry. Selected essays will be published on “Ticontre – Teoria, testo, traduzione” n. 10, to be published in November 2018. The volume will be co-edited by Fulvio Ferrari (Università degli Studi di Trento), Dr. Lorenzo Mari (Università dell'Insubria) and Dr. Stefano Pradel (Università degli Studi di Trento).

The analysis of the interaction between Eros and Melancholy shows, first of all, its longstanding persistence in the history of universal art and philosophy. As far as Western culture is concerned, a first unavoidable reference might be retraced in Polibo’s De natura hominis (400 BC), to be read alongside the essay about melancholy attributed to Rufus of Ephesus (1st century BC). Subsequently, the proto-scientific temperament theory appears to be primarily related to the interpretation of physical and psychological phenomena of the “soul” and, more specifically, to the paradigmatic definition of the “pain of love”, or “lovesickness”. The interaction between Eros and Saturn, or, the idea of melancholic eroticism is later reworked in medieval treatises (as amor hereos), acquiring a definitive shape, in the different European traditions of the Renaissance, in Ficino’s De amore (1469) and, later, in Huarte de San Juan’s scientific approach (Examen de ingenios para las ciencias, 1575).

The pervasiveness of this relationship emerges in all its prolificity in medieval courtly poetry, as well as during the Renaissance and the Baroque. The strong influence on Romanticism (with the frequent combination of Eros and Thanatos) and post-Romantic poetry (la muse malade) will be subsequently reshaped by the modern philosophical/medical descriptions of Freudian psychopathology and the subsequent debate in psychoanalysis, as tightly related to the socio-political changes in the development and configuration of individual sexuality during the 20th century.

The amor hereos, definitively deprived of its original values and codification, can be retraced also in contemporary literature, producing a continuous and intense interdisciplinary debate, including works by Roland Barthes (Fragments d'un discours amoureux,1977), Octavio Paz (La llama doble. Amor y erotismo, 1993), Giorgio Agamben (Stanze. La parola e il fantasma nella cultura occidentale, 1993) and Byung Chul-Han (Agonies des Eros, 2012), as well as the scientific tradition inaugurated by the so-called “semiotics of passions” (Greimas, Quèrè, Marsciani, Bertrand, Geninasca, Fontanille).

As this kind of analysis often focuses on the poetic text as catalysing the relationship between Eros and Melancholy, this CFP aims to investigate, in transversal ways, on the presence of melancholic Eros in modern and contemporary poetry. Such a perspective could shed light on recurrent patterns and/or specific idiosyncrasies, within collective and/or indivudal poetics and aesthetic theories, involving reflections on perception, sense and corporeality, as well as on the intricacies of the relationship with the Other and the different expressions of amorous feelings and sexual desire. What we would like to address, then, is the problematic, marginal or unusual expression of eroticism, that is, when desire or its impossibility shape and are shaped in poetry.

The possible methodological and analytical approaches include, without being limited to:

  • authorial philology: versions, variations and rewritings in relationship with the disclosure/concealment of the chosen topic;
  • diachronic approaches underlining the long durée of the nexus between Eros and Melancholy within a chosen cultural tradition or a particular literary movement/period;
  • construction/relationship of the lyrical self in relationship with the Other (forms of desire, communication and figuration)
  • hermeneutic approaches to specific works, focusing on structure, style, semantic isotopies, etc.;
  • relationships between the different expressive modalities and the psychopathology of love, neurosis, mental instability, etc., as part of the relationship between literature and society;
  • persistence and/or rarefaction of the expression of the relationship between Eros and Melancholy in Vanguardism and neo-Vanguardism (or, more recently, in the so-called post-poésie, or “post-poetry”).

Contributions focusing on this topic, since early German Romanticism (1798) to contemporary poetry, and written in the four languages of the journal (Italian, French, English and Spanish) will be considered.

We invite potential contributors to send an abstract (max. 250 words) and a short bio-bibliographical note (.doc or .pdf format) to the address: by the deadline: 28th of February 2018 at midday.

Communication of accepted abstracts will be sent by the editors of the volume by the 15th of March 2018. Accepted contributions must be submitted by 30th June 2018 and they will undergo peer review before publication.  Please send inquiries to

Here the link to pdf version.