Cave a nominibus. Il nome inadeguato nell’opera di Carlo Collodi
This paper concerns one of Collodi’s many reflexions on proper names and on the importance of their choice; in particular, the developments and consequences of the attribution of inappropriate names are analyzed here. Collodi made the inadequate name a recurring subject in many of his writings, a comic topos that was repeated and refined through the years. The Florentine writer satirized in particular names chosen to convey a racist message, as well as those whose choice was influenced by literary and melodramatic fashions, in contrast with more traditional names now considered unpleasant or even ‘common’. Collodi hits out at such fads and artificial attitudes as found in the snobbery typical of the nascent bourgeoisie, in its attempt to rid itself of what might be seen as pre-unification provincialism. He even brought his own satirical vision to bear on embarrassing names at the very beginning of Pinocchio, with that amused, paradoxical onomastic decision made by Geppetto in endowing his puppet with a name chosen because, he says, he knew a family of Pinocchi where everyone was well-off and the richest among them was a beggar!