In the thought content delusional micromanic ideas sometimes occur, a culpability close to absurdum, delusional ideas of negation, disanimation
. The motor inhibition may attain melancholic stupor.
The front became a physical as well as a metaphorical locus, a "psychologically and spiritually desolate place," as Allison Cooper argues in her essay, "in which one confronted the most pressing crises of modernity." In particular, she focuses on the notion of disanimation
in relation to Giuseppe Ungaretti's war poetry.
An important aesthetic device employed by the aforementioned figures is the representation of otherwise animate objects as devoid of life or spirit, or what we might call, after Ungaretti, "disanimation"--an Anglicization (and nominalization) of the Italian "disanimato" that appears in his wartime poem "Sono una creatura." Meaning "sfiduciato," "esanime" or "privo di vita, di anima" (Dizionario italiano ragionato 541), "disanimato" first appears in Italian literature with early translations of Virgil's Aeneid into the vernacular, where it was employed to render the Latin "exanimis" (Aen.
This disanimation mirrors the way that meaning is unhinged from language in Ungaretti's poetry, leaving only a meaningless symbol behind.
Disanimation is one of the principal means by which Ungaretti's wartime poetry countered the contingent, provisory nature of Futurist and avant-garde aesthetics, as well as the contingent nature of life in the trenches.
Freud's Totem and Taboo (1913) is particularly useful in understanding disanimation because the book links the discovery of the unconscious--an event that many historians have identified as a particularly tumultuous moment in early twentieth-century culture--to the figure of the ghost, itself a form of disanimation.
The fullest expression of this dynamic occurs in II porto sepolto's "Sono una creatura," which utilizes disanimation to describe the war's dehumanizing effects and the near inability of language to communicate such effects.
The tension between death and life shapes Ungaretti's wartime poetry, and finds its purest expression in disanimation. Steeped as it appears to be in the Great War's violence, disanimation would seem to represent a purely negative principle.