A double dose of death in Iginio Ugo Tarchetti’s ‘I fatali’
in The Gothic and death
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This chapter posits a psychoanalytic reading of Iginio Ugo Tarchetti’s short story I fatali (The Fated Ones) published posthumously in the collection Racconti fantastici (Fantastic Tales) (1869). It focuses on the mortal rivalry between the father and son figures, Count Sagrezwitch and Baron Saternez, who become known in late nineteenth-century Milanese society of the short story as true embodiments of fatal beings belonging to popular superstition, known as jinxes – bringers of bad fortune, illness, harm, and even death to others. Drawing from Otto Rank and Sigmund Freud’s conceptions of the Doppelgänger, it is argued that these protagonists emerge as complementary doubles for one another, as opposing incarnations of Death in the form of mysterious foreigners. This chapter also highlights the post-Unification, socio-cultural undertones of Tarchetti’s fantastic tale, affirms the existence of an Italian Gothic, and reveals the author’s portrayal of death’s spectacular nature.

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