Informations and abstract
Keywords: Maria Corti, Twentieth-Century University, Philology, Linguistics, Detection, Literary Creation.
Maria Corti, one of the most prominent Italian literary scholars of the twentieth century, was for more than three decades Professor of History of the Italian Language at the University of Pavia, the founder of the internationally renowned Fondo Manoscritti (now Centro di ricerca sulla tradizione manoscritta di autori moderni e contemporanei), the author of some forty seminal books and innumerable essays, the director of two editorial collections and three innovative literary journals (Strumenti critici among them). However, this brilliant cursus honorum does not fully cover the multifaceted, colourful, unexpected aspects of her literary research. This essay aims to track three main themes – or questions – that run through her whole work and elucidate its most adventurous sides: the detective-like attitude that led Corti to face literary texts as puzzles to be solved; the connection she always saw between erudite studies and the cultural issues of her times; her curiosity for the process of literary creation. By following the inter-twined paths of these motifs, a deeper insight is provided into Corti’s tendency to go off the beaten track and into her ability to anticipate some developments of the literary research.