By Cord Brooks TARCHETTI! WHO WAS TARCHETTI?
To Italian readers, he is very much a “minor author” in the landscape of their national literature as it is currently drawn. Although he died in 1869, he can still vie in the cultural marketplace, where his “best” work remains available in cheap paperback editions. But his cultural capital is small: he receives abbreviated, sometimes dismissive treatment in the standard manuals of literary history, and his work fails to resurface in the most urgent debates in Italian writing today. Tarchetti was admitted to the pantheon of Italian literature shortly after his death on the strength of ardent admirers and friends, but he has always stalked its outer arcades. He has been the perennial outsider, a role he particularly relished playing when he was alive.
English-language readers have a rather different purchase on Tarchetti. Here his Italian fate is not just unfamiliar: he simply doesn’t exist. Years ago I translated some of his work with small presses, but it went out of print — a cruel irony in his case, since he was himself an industrious, if slightly shady, translator of English fiction into Italian. No English-language writer of fiction or poetry has ever betrayed the least acquaintance with Tarchetti’s writing. And no Anglophone academic, even among those who profess Italian literature as their specialty, has ever devoted a career to the study of his life and oeuvre. To English-language readers, the name Tarchetti carries only the most minimal residue of meaning: it signifies “Italian,” a linguistic difference, perhaps a moment’s hesitation over whether to say “Tarshetti” or “Tarketti” (the Italian pronunciation). Beyond this, the sound of “Tarchetti” is white noise (or, at best, tricolored).
The baptismal certificate indicates that Igino Pietro Teodoro Tarchetti was born on June 29, 1839, in San Salvatore Monferrato, a village in the Piedmont, into a family of independent means. The confusion over his name started in infancy: on the certificate, “Igino” is scrawled in to correct the form “Iginio,” which had been written first. Tarchetti later preferred the error, “Iginio,” to grace his letters and publications.
After a classical education, he entered the military in 1861, the year Victor Emmanuel of Sardinia was proclaimed king of a newly unified Italy, and Turin became the capital city. This event was the climax of the Risorgimento, or “resurgence,” which arose early in the 19th century as a nationalist, democratic movement to gain Italian independence from foreign occupation, namely that of Austria and France, and to organize diverse Italian duchies, states, and kingdoms into a national representative body. When the dust settled from the epic military expeditions and shrewd diplomatic maneuverings, the Italian nation-state was a parliamentary monarchy with a centralized bureaucracy that sought to govern a morass of different regions, each with its own dialect, its own customs and laws, its own social hierarchies and conflicts. In the 1860s, the unification was little more than an idea and a ramifying administrative network that benefited relatively few Italians, especially with the literacy rate running at just under 50 percent of the population. The Risorgimento served mainly bourgeois interests in the North — landowners, merchants and industrialists, professionals — by imposing political reforms and economic policies throughout the peninsula, often with the aid of the standing army. New taxes and higher prices led to worker riots, and martial law was declared in Naples and Sicily.
Tarchetti’s regiment, mobilized in the government’s ruthless campaign to repress peasant brigandage as well as any counter-unification insurgency, was assigned to a series of posts in Southern Italy: first Foggia, then Lecce, Taranto, and Salerno. Tarchetti himself was appointed to the rather unheroic office of commissary, a desk job, cushy enough to mark him as a privileged son of the Piedmontese bourgeoisie. He liked the change of scenery, the sudden shift in his life. To his mother he wrote: “The constant excitement, the novelty, the ease and my satisfied vanity are attractive, even seductive compared to the eternal monotony of all our villages.” Yet all was not well. An administrative miscalculation resulted in extra supplies, and even though Tarchetti was not responsible for it, he was ordered to bear part of the financial burden, some 700 francs. It proved to be a disillusioning experience. In a letter to his mother, he criticized the newly instituted government for its failure to live up to its lofty democratic pronouncements: “You read of freedom, of equality before the law, of laws the same for everyone, but these are the most ironic infamies that ever issued from human lips. No ministry has been more unjust, more despotic, more murderous than ours.”
At the same time, he was avidly pursuing his literary interests. He read widely in various European literatures — English, French, German, as well as Italian — and especially the great Romantics, who inspired him to develop his own projects. In 1862, in a letter to a school friend, the musician Albino Ronco, Tarchetti spoke of how “I am always writing something, I’ve composed various poems and a rather original scene — got the idea from Byron’s Manfred and Schiller. The characters are a man, a good angel and a wicked angel. But I shall probably never finish a thing. I am much too restless.”
In 1863, he was transferred to Varese, near the Italian-Swiss border. He was constantly in motion, traveling to his native village, but also to Milan, Alessandria, Turin, and the Northern centers, where radical political societies debated the course of the Risorgimento, and the most advanced cultural trends surfaced in the periodical press, the opera houses, the cafés, and salons. Disaffected with the military, Tarchetti sought editing work with Milanese literary reviews whenever he obtained a leave of absence. He cultivated a distinctively Romantic persona: studious, solitary, sensitive, somewhat morbid in his fascinations. “I spend almost all day at the office and on English lessons,” he wrote to a lover, “passing my few free moments at the café or strolling through the countryside. Today, however, I felt sad and went to the cemetery to contemplate the sleep of the dead, which I envy with all the might of desire.”
This letter formed part of an intense, year-long correspondence that records Tarchetti’s tempestuous affair with Carlotta Ponti. It was doomed from the start. In 1859, Carlotta had been affianced to an Austrian major, but the engagement was broken off, perhaps partly a casualty of the zealous patriotism that intensified during the wars of unification. Henceforth her father, an engineer from Varese, remained vigilant against any involvements that might further compromise his daughter’s reputation. When he learned of the new affair, he wrote a polite but firm letter to Tarchetti, requesting that he check out of a nearby hotel and threatening “rigorous measures” if he did not comply. One night, upon discovering the lovers conversing at Carlotta’s window, the father fired three pistol shots at Tarchetti, missing him, but stoking an already impassioned relationship. The lovers persisted, arranging clandestine rendezvous in cafés, composing numerous letters in which they abandoned themselves to the most extravagant emotional displays. “Jealousy, regret, memories of a happier time constantly torture my heart,” wrote Tarchetti. “I am sick, perhaps consumptive; I wish I could forget you, hate you, despise you. Only then could I live a new life.” Another letter expressed his frustration when a man of their acquaintance had insulted Carlotta but refused to give Tarchetti “an honorable satisfaction.” In a postscript added at dawn, he told her how, in a mad fury, “I bit into the thumb of my right hand until the blood flowed, here, look at this always febrile, always restless blood, I shall rid my veins of it.” Two sides of the letter paper are bloodstained.
This correspondence allowed Tarchetti to indulge his penchant for Romantic excesses, but in a very self-conscious manner, voicing his agonized love while nurturing his literary vocation. The letters to Carlotta offered the opportunity to explore forms and themes that recur later in his fiction: speculations about love and madness, fantasies laced with erotic overtones, horror stories that are at once grim and slightly humorous in their extremity.
I dreamt I met you in a magnificent valley, near San Salvatore, everywhere green with the most expansive meadows stretching far as the eye could see. You had stooped to gather daisies. You were wearing the yellow dress you wore that day we saw each other in the country. As soon as you noticed me, you fled, screaming, dropping the flowers you had gathered, and I lit out in pursuit. Your clothes and hair were flying in the wind, which transported us with frightening rapidity. Finally, I reached you and embraced you from behind, at the waist, trying to halt you, but the wind was pushing us so hard it was impossible. What a magnificent dream! We were so light that as soon as the tips of our toes touched the top of the grass, I experienced a well-being never felt before, a happiness, a pleasure impossible to express. But all of a sudden we were staring at one another on the edge of a chasm so deep, so frightening, I still shudder at the mere thought of it. You could have stopped, I felt you could, but you refused, and my hands pressed your sides so tightly I could not remove them. Here we were on the edge of the abyss, off balance; but before you hurled yourself, you addressed me a look so eloquent and so desperate I shall never be able to forget it. I no longer recall what you said to me, but I know I responded: it’s too late. At these words, you threw yourself into the chasm, and I followed you. What a precipitous fall! I listened to the parted air producing that low, whistling sound heard in the mountains of Rhaetia at the fall of avalanches. It is impossible to describe to you the fear I felt. To be brief, I shall tell you that we crashed against a rock, and instead of finding my soul in St. Michael’s scales counterpoised against my sins, I was in my bed, shaken and sweaty, my mind still so full of this dream I could not believe I was alive. I lit the lamp and read till dawn.
Given this nightmarish vision, Tarchetti was probably engrossed in a Gothic tale. To figure his own experiences and desires, he took decades-old conventions of the Gothic — the threatening landscape, fatal love — and recast them into a family romance (positioned near Tarchetti’s birthplace, the beloved woman is a mother surrogate) punctuated with violent sexual imagery (the “valley” that gives “a pleasure impossible to express” becomes a suicidal “chasm”). In the correspondence as a whole, Tarchetti was fashioning a highly literary image of himself as lover, deliberately living out the plots of sentimental epistolary novels like Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther or, closer to home, The Last Letters of Jacopo Ortis by Ugo Foscolo, the noted Italian Romantic. Indeed, all the letters to Carlotta are signed “Ugo.”
In 1864, Tarchetti obtained leave from military service because of poor health and took up residence in Milan, writing short stories and essays that would see print over the next few years. He met with a loosely associated group of painters, composers, and writers who baptized themselves the Scapigliatura, after the 1862 novel by Cletto Arrighi, The Scapigliatura and the Sixth of February. Arrighi derived his neologism from the Italian scapigliato, “disheveled,” in order to signify an Italian bohemia that was following near-contemporary developments in French culture:
In all the great, wealthy cities of the uncivilized world, there exist a certain number of individuals of both sexes, between 20 and 25 years old, no more; poor, almost always filled with intelligence, more advanced than their time, as independent as an eagle in the Alps; equally ready to do good or bad; restless, troubled, […] unruly, who, either because of the terrible contradiction between their constitution and their status — that is to say, between what they have in their heads and their pockets — or because of certain social influences that have swept them away, or perhaps just because of their particularly eccentric and disorderly way of life — not to mention a thousand other causes and a thousand other effects, the study of which will precisely form the aim and moral of my novel — merit classification in a new, specific subdivision of the great social family, like those who form a caste sui generis, distinct from all others.
For a time now, the French have been calling them the bohème.
This caste, the true pandemonium of the century; personification of the madness that exists outside of lunatic asylums; reservoir of disorder, improvidence, the spirit of revolt and opposition against all established orders — I’ve called them the Scapigliatura.
The Scapigliatura was a Milan-based artistic movement that saw style as revolt, adopting deviant behavior intended to shock bourgeois respectability and engaging in outré experiments that opposed the Italian cultural establishment, occasionally provoking the Austrian censors. To implement this agenda, the scapigliati looked abroad for models. They were basically living Italian translations of French literary texts, imitations of the urban subcultures described by Balzac and George Sand, or in Henri Murger’s Scènes de la vie de bohème. And they hoped to produce writing that would incite public outrage as had Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du mal.
The stylistic revolt meant abandoning the highly conservative sentimentalism that had dominated Italian fiction since Alessandro Manzoni’s historical novel, The Betrothed (1827), with its pious Christian response to aristocratic oppression. The scapigliati advocated a representation of class divisions that was democratically oriented, realistic but also melodramatic, often with an engagement in specific social issues like the Austrian presence or the Italian conscript army. Although mostly members of the bourgeoisie, they rebelled against its hegemony, critical of the social inequality that remained after the “unification”; and in their nonconformist lives and unconventional writings, they often allied themselves with the poor and other marginal groups, viewing literature as a political practice designed to foment social change and, hence, trying to reach the widest possible audience by publishing in large-circulation newspapers. They were, in Arrighi’s words, “the propagators of brilliant utopias, the forge of all generous ideas, the spirit of all the inventive, artistic, poetic, revolutionary elements in our country.”
Tarchetti made his scapigliato debut in 1865, in the demotically dubbed newspaper Giornale Per Tutti. He published the brief narrative “Captain Gubart’s Fortune,” in which an impoverished street musician mistakenly receives a military commission and goes on to enjoy a successful career, proving class divisions to be arbitrary, a consequence of a clerical error, hardly as natural or necessary to social order as the ruling elite insisted. By the end of the year, a leading literary review in Milan, the Rivista Minima, was serializing Tarchetti’s first novel, Paolina, about a seamstress who is persecuted by an aristocrat and brutally raped and murdered. In the scapigliato aesthetic of the novel, borrowings from Manzoni are debased by the sensationalistic plot à la Eugène Sue.
Tarchetti’s leave ended late in 1865, and he assumed a post at Parma, close enough to maintain his Milanese associations and continue his literary activities. He published a programmatic essay in which he argued the superiority of the novel over history in political terms, as the more progressive genre (“in the novel I knew man free, in history I knew man subjected to man”), and he repeated the attack on Manzoni for producing “two terribly apathetic and cold lovers” and a cowardly priest who counselled resignation before the tyrannies of the aristocracy. The narrative form that Tarchetti recommended was less social realism than politicized fantasy, the evocation of a “marvelous world” of “man free,” wherein the “sublime and general goal” of writing was “to multiply and invigorate in one’s soul the infinite sensations through which the grand sentiment of life is manifested.” Society was conceived as a delirium of “sensations,” different but equal, free from relations of domination but characterized by a diversity so intense as to explode the most cherished of bourgeois values, individualism. Tarchetti’s was a peculiarly democratic vision, in which the I is discovered to be the many others it excludes in order to preserve its individuality. To represent this vision, he turned to a foreign literary genre, the Gothic, where chronological time and three-dimensional space are jettisoned, and personal identity remains in flux, able to escape the socially constructed boundaries between genders, races, classes.
The Gothic tale was uniquely suited to the cultural situation in which Tarchetti wanted to intervene. In Italy it was already stigmatized, a marginal genre in relation to the dominant realism, untried by respected Italian writers, existing only in some translations from the German and French. In 1855, an Italian translation of E. T. A. Hoffmann’s fiction had appeared in four volumes, and in 1863, a book entitled Incredible Stories presented Italian versions of Adelbert von Chamisso’s “Peter Schlemihl’s Wonderful Journey” and of two stories by Edgar Allan Poe, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and “The Oval Portrait.” In the case of Poe, the translator had worked from Baudelaire’s French versions, not from the English, yet he omitted this important detail from his otherwise loquacious introduction — witness to the authority Baudelaire held for the vanguard in Italian culture. Tarchetti was in fact the first practitioner of the Gothic tale in Italian, although his initial effort in the genre involved a similar, but much more outrageous subterfuge.
In 1865, he published a tale entitled “The Immortal Mortal (From the English)” in the Rivista Minima. Although it was printed with his byline, he was neither its author nor, as the parenthetical description might suggest, the imitator of its (unidentified) English source. What Tarchetti actually published was his Italian translation of a tale by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, “The Mortal Immortal,” which appeared in the English literary annual The Keepsake for 1833. Tarchetti had another opportunity to acknowledge his translation, but he did not: in 1868, while serving as editor of the newspaper Emporio Pittoresco, he reprinted it as his tale with a different title, “The Elixir of Immortality (An Imitation from the English).” Tarchetti’s Italian version did introduce some significant changes to Shelley’s text, but they are too few to alter the fact that he was translating her English very closely. By failing to acknowledge that he had written a translation, Tarchetti obviously asserted his authorship and therefore was guilty of plagiarism.
This action, however, wouldn’t have got him sued for copyright infringement by Shelley’s estate or her English publisher: at the time, neither England nor Italy had developed statutes that gave the author the exclusive right to license translations of her text. Besides, there is absolutely no evidence that anyone but Tarchetti knew of his plagiarized translation. He did it for his own reasons, which, in view of his precarious financial situation, probably included the money he was paid for the piece (it would have been less if he had been “merely” the translator). He could also enjoy the satisfaction of flouting bourgeois property relations by defrauding his publisher, assuming the scapigliato pose of the criminal. In effect, Tarchetti’s plagiarism upset the distinctions on which the literary establishment in Italy was grounded: not only did a copy pass for an original and a translator for an author, but an English tale of frustrated love and occult science passed for the first Gothic fiction written in the language of Manzoni’s sentimental Christian realism. Shelley’s tale, moreover, has a decidedly feminist aim: it satirizes patriarchal images of male power and female weakness by exaggerating them, treating the elixir of immortality as a fantastic trope for male physical superiority and assigning it to a comically inept narrator named Winzy, the victim of the vain Bertha’s brow-beatings. Tarchetti had already excoriated an aristocrat’s savage treatment of a working-class woman in Paolina, and he may well have been attracted by Shelley’s use of fantasy to ridicule patriarchy. Yet any such political motive was compromised by the circumstances of his translation. As a plagiarism of Shelley’s tale, it also had the antifeminist effect of suppressing female authorship.
In 1866, Tarchetti devised other, more public forms of resistance against “all established orders.” His disenchantment with the military now became a flagrant disregard for decorum: while at Parma, he engaged in an affair with a certain Carolina, the relative of a superior officer. He also arranged for the printing of a pamphlet entitled Thoughts on the Abolition of Permanent Armies and, with his friend and collaborator Salvatore Farina, distributed thousands of copies in all the barracks in Milan. Near the end of the year, the daily Il Sole, a “commercial-financial-economic newspaper,” started serializing Tarchetti’s second novel, Dramas from the Military Life. Vincenzo D. Subtitled “A Noble Madness,” this work is a protest against the standing army in which an officer is moved to desertion by distracted, pacifistic musings amid debates about the value of anarchism. “Tell me,” says Vincenzo’s mentor, a follower of Proudhon, “what is it that underwrites property?”
“And what is property?”
I hesitated to respond, uncertain.
“Property is usurpation,” he said, “property is theft. […] Now, if the laws protect usurpation, if the laws are based on a false principle, your conscience can’t stop you from violating them.”
The work caused an uproar in the press, and copies were openly burned at many Italian barracks. Encouraged by this controversy, Tarchetti conceived of another antimilitaristic novel, which, however, never got beyond the planning stage. He was finally discharged from the service, a development that no doubt had something to do with his fragile health, but perhaps more with the publicity surrounding his novel and the scandal of his relationship with Carolina.
Having established himself as a figure of some notoriety on the Milanese literary scene, Tarchetti stepped up the already frenetic pace of his work. He was writing for immediate publication and payment because he desperately needed money. In a letter to Farina, Tarchetti complained about “my usual economic complications […] that I have nothing in the world, that from one day to the next I must find some way to dine, dress, house myself.” In 1867 he started his own newspaper, a daily, but it failed after two days for lack of funds. He was contracted by the populist publisher Edoardo Sonzogno to translate English novels, including Dickens’s Our Mutual Friend. In December 1867, the editors of the Gazzettino Rosa, a newspaper that featured such radical contributors as the anarchist Mikhail Bakunin, invited Tarchetti to submit a brief piece, and he obliged with a suitably scapigliato self-portrait:
I would like to be a hyena, thrusting my way into graves, feeding on the bones of the dead. In this world, I see only skulls, thigh bones. If a woman kisses me, I feel nothing but cold; if she smiles at me, I see her teeth moving gumless, threatening to fall from her mouth; if she embraces me, I have only the sensation of a body clinging and heavy like clay. In the darkness, my lover would seem to me a corpse rising through some effect of magnetism, like Galvani’s frog, destined to drop abruptly under its own dead weight.
During the first six months of 1868, Tarchetti assumed the editorship of another newspaper and contributed a steady stream of articles in which he commented polemically on social and cultural events. He reviewed new operas, plays, and novels, questioned Manzoni’s lobbying for the Tuscan dialect as the national language, proposed a program of continuing education to increase working-class literacy, and considered political groups like the Fenians, the Irish association founded in New York for the overthrow of the English government in Ireland. Meanwhile he was traveling in the artistic demimonde of Milan and Turin, frequenting the cafés and attending the salon of the Contessa Maffei, one of his fervent admirers.
This was the period when Tarchetti wrote the bulk of his Gothic tales. They were clearly designed to bait the bourgeoisie, rejecting good sense and decency to explore dream and insanity, violence and aberrant sexuality. They questioned scientific rationality by treating alchemy, spiritualism, even popular legend with the utmost verisimilitude. And they played havoc not merely with the hallowed conventions of the sentimental novel, but also with the Romanticism that underlay their own stylistic revolt, pushing it to parodic extremes. The musician who is the title character of “Bouvard” exemplifies the Romantic artist: his genius enables him to create supremely beautiful works, but his physical deformity dooms him to a solitary life, critically acclaimed but unloved, alienated from the elite social groups that make up the most influential segment of his audience. The lesson he learns so painfully is that the Romantic faith in the imagination is baseless — his art cannot transcend reality, the woman who inspires him cannot love him — and this provokes a rabid antifeminism in which the heroine who is usually the object of sentimental idealization suffers the ultimate abuse, necrophilia. “The Fated” demystifies the Byronic hero: an enigmatic aristocrat exercises a lethal hold on an unsuspecting woman, who is saved from death only when another, equally enigmatic aristocrat intervenes at the request of the rather mundane lover she initially rejected. In Tarchetti’s fiction, the key tenets of Romanticism — the solitary artist, the angelic woman, the fatal lover — are often developed with such exaggeration that they come to reveal the worst illusions, the most oppressive forms of domination, the most spectacular occasions of self-destruction.
Most of Tarchetti’s fantastic narratives exhibit his characteristic practice of appropriating foreign texts in the Gothic tradition: specific works by Hoffmann, Poe, Gérard de Nerval, Théophile Gautier, the Alsatian collaboration of Émile Erckmann and Louis-Alexandre Chatrian. Tarchetti adapted fantastic motifs, reproduced scenes, translated, even plagiarized — yet these strategies resulted in strikingly inventive tales that challenged the dominant realism and addressed some of the most pressing social and cultural issues in post-unification Italy.
In “A Spirit in a Raspberry,” Tarchetti drew on Erckmann-Chatrian’s “The Burgomaster in the Bottle,” particularly their witty use of metempsychosis to lambast a petty bureaucrat, but he substantially revised it to examine an Italian problem: the complacency of the Southern aristocracy. When a Calabrian nobleman eats some raspberries and is possessed by the spirit of a flirtatious maid from his household who had inexplicably disappeared, he undergoes a deranging experience in which his class and gender identities are dislocated and put into question. The fantastic narrative of “A Dead Man’s Bone” abandoned the effete orientalism of its source, Gautier’s “The Mummy’s Foot,” but retained its grotesquely humorous concern with anatomy. And where Gautier seemed interested in commenting on French colonialism in Egypt by having the pharaoh deny the narrator’s request for his daughter’s hand, Tarchetti linked the medical profession with exploitation of the working class: a dead worker comes back to life to reclaim one of his bones, which was removed by a medical professor during an autopsy and is now being used by the dilettantish narrator as a paperweight. Amid the Gothic trappings of séances and ghosts, Tarchetti’s tale stages the disquieting return of the socially repressed.
By 1869, Tarchetti’s narrative experiments commanded a growing readership, and his work was sought by numerous editors in Milan’s burgeoning publishing industry. He was writing furiously to keep pace with the newspaper serialization of his third novel, Fosca. Deeply preoccupied with this project, he was also frustrated by repeated interruptions because of illness, financial difficulties, the necessity to shift continually from one address to another. The novel tells the story of a military officer whose affair with an attractive married woman is broken off when he is transferred to a frontier post and becomes obsessed with the commanding officer’s cousin, the title character, described as repulsively ugly and given to strange hysterical fits. These premises had a certain autobiographical resonance for Tarchetti, recalling his indecorous affair with Carolina, who suffered from epilepsy. But he transformed this personal interest through his experimental practice of appropriating current literary discourses for his own cultural and political ends. Fosca is the femme fatale of Romanticism reduced to the absurd, a woman who resists the various novelistic representations — sentimental, naturalistic, fantastic — by means of which the male characters try to understand and control her. Despite his failing health, Tarchetti completed all but one chapter of the novel. On March 25, 1869, at the age of 29, he died from tuberculosis and typhus.
Nonetheless, he has continued to haunt Italian literature. His presence can be detected in the fantastic experiments of later writers who gained international reputations: Luigi Pirandello and Dino Buzzati, Tommaso Landolfi and Anna Maria Ortese, Italo Calvino and Paola Capriolo. In English, however, Tarchetti’s readership hasn’t quite materialized — yet. Perhaps our own politically horrific moment has primed us to appreciate his special brand of Gothic subversion.
Lawrence Venuti is, most recently, the author of Contra Instrumentalism: A Translation Polemic (Nebraska, 2019), the editor of The Translation Studies Reader (4th ed., forthcoming from Routledge in 2021), and the translator of J. V. Foix’s Daybook 1918: Early Fragments (Northwestern, 2019). Archipelago has recently reprinted his translation of Tarchetti’s Fantastic Tales.
The post The Hyena’s Laugh: I. U. Tarchetti and the Birth of Italian Gothic appeared first on Los Angeles Review of Books.