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Additional resources for The Works of Claudio Magris: Temporary Homes, Mobile Identities, European Borders
In the most relevant turning points of the story, this conflict is articulated through dwellings, which, in contrast with the openness of ground or water expanses, frame the character’s adventures and feelings, exposing his inner lacerations. The “dingy classrooms” (Different 1) of Enrico’s high school years already conveyed the disturbing sense of something missing and increased the desire for natural landscapes. 0004 The Works of Claudio Magris The ship now taking Enrico to South America on an ocean that to him is “monotonous and without limit” (2) offers him a refuge in staticity, as he is never tired of “the unchanging things” (2).
Time and space in La mostra become progressively rarefied. Moments go away, “like a headache” (72), between memory and delirium, “forgetting and remembering” (54). Places, too, dissipate. And, as if pushing to the limit Magris’s notion of identity by subtraction, the self dissolves as well, a self so unsettled that it cannot even find comfort in the fantasy of freedom. It is so sad to be free, Timmel avows, because to overcome the compact identity8 imposed on Timmel by constricting categories means to remain “without a name” (74), hence without a dwelling place in the symbolic realm.
Additional transient spaces of domesticity define his return to Italy. 0004 Households of the Self instability, by the tension between attachment to his own land and the “longing to escape” (63) that the other guests from the Danubian region convey, aggrandizing his personal struggle. In the silence and peace granted by the provisional comfort of his boat, Enrico has the illusion that the Schopenhauerian echoes of its name, “Maia,” will also lead him more easily to “the pure present of things” (67).