Antonio Tabucchi and the Journey of Self-Discovery:

A Jungian Reading


  • John Picchione



Tabucchi, Jung, animus, anima, coniunctio oppositorum, shadow, archetype, individuation, dreams, ghosts, journey, Buddhism, mandala, self-discovery, Pessoa, Hesse, Dante, Bakhtin, dialogical and metaliterary novel, gender, agon, truth, cognition, modern hero


The article centers on two novels by Italian writer Antonio Tabucchi—Requiem: A hallucination and For Isabel: A mandala. It analyzes the polysemic elements that constitute the symbolic construction of both works, supported by the main tenets of Jungian psychology and in particular the notions of coniunctio oppositorum, individuation, and journey of self-discovery. The investigation explores the relationship of Tabucchi’s narrative with works by Ferdinando Pessoa and Herman Hesse. Homologies between the author’s view of the self, cognition, human reality, and the formal structure of the novels are examined through the Bakhtinian notion of dialogical narrative and through his metaliterary and self-reflexive mode of writing.