Testoni, I., Parise, G., Visintin, E. P., Zamperini, A., & Ronconi, L.
Literary plastination: From body’s objectification to the ontological representation of death, differences between sick-literature and tales by amateur writers
This article presents a qualitative analysis of published and unpublished texts, aimed to understand a new narrative phenomenon named “sick-lit.” This is a genre of stories, written by professional novelists, rooted in disease, self-harm, suicide, sufferance from violence, death, and dying. In the Internet it has been considered as a trivialization of serious issues and even potentially encouraging readers to harm themselves. Our hypothesis is that this negative judgment is based on the ontological representation of death and the objectification of the body depicted in these stories. In order to inquire into this possibility and to compare this anomalous form of story-telling with another kind of narration reflecting the wider common sensibility, a qualitative analysis was realized on six sick-lit novels (SLNs) and 21 unpublished tales written by amateur writers (AWTs). The results confirm the hypothesis: the SLNs represent death also as an absolute annihilation and the body is always reified through medical language, while the AWTs represent death only as a passage or reincarnation and the description of the deteriorated body is minimal.Back