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In both Tarchetti and Beresford's works, Fosca is socially ostracized for her ugliness and oppressed by a male guardian with whom she struggles for the right to love a handsome soldier.
In Fosca, Tarchetti builds suspense by deferring Giorgio's first encounter with the inexplicably sick Fosca--seating him ominously next to her unoccupied dinner place--before finally allowing the two to meet: (20) God!
In "Fosca" the scene of Rodolpho and Fosca's meeting from a distance bears a striking similarity, in both theme and tone, to the suspenseful scene of Giorgio and Fosca's first encounter.
The narrator's description of Fosca's "black eyes, raven hair, aquiline nose" (based on Fosca's school-friend, Fosca 322) and "black and sweeping ...
Tarchetti's hand is visible in Beresford's vain attempt to imitate the macabre, Gothic setting of Fosca, as a comparison of the following passages shows: But their world was not the one upon which the stars keep ceaseless watch ...
In Fosca, Giorgio relates the act of writing his memoir ("this monument") to the death and burial of a loved one who, it is implied with a chilling sense of physical horror, may still be alive.
Like Tarchetti, whose only references are to the "small town of ***," Beresford refers to the town of Fosca's residence as a "small Italian town" (and "small centre[s]") and, in a suspiciously similar ellipsis, as "C--." Beresford's ellipsis and only other disclosures about the town, the name of a street--Via Vittorio Emanuele, and Rodolpho's proximity to it--"garrisoned in Florence [...
Attitudes in "Fosca" about small-town life can be traced to Fosca and the disdain that Giorgio expresses for the provincialism of small towns: It would have been impossible for me to stay any longer in my hometown.
But while Giorgio's condemnation of provincialism and his misanthropy embolden his spirit, inciting him to be "rebellious to common measures and laws" (242), the narrator's denouncement of gossip-mongering in "Fosca" serves to project little more than an air of (authorial) condescension and contempt.
Tarchetti's use of alliteration with a phonosymbolic effect reinforces the ideological design of Fosca. Repeating the initial letters "b, f, d, m, o, and s" and calling attention to concepts such as "bellezza, femminile, donna, morte, scheletro" and, in turn, Romantic binomials such as beauty-ugliness, femininity-masculinity, and life-death, function to raise and polemicize aesthetic, gender, and ontological issues of concern to the author.
The surname Del Nero, a possible distillation of the title of Tarchetti's short story "Le leggende del castello nero" (my emphasis), suggests that Beresford may have been familiar with "Fantastic Tales," appropriating "del" and "nero" for a character's name in "Fosca." If true, however, Beresford fails to bring across the light-dark symbolism inherent in the Gothic doubling of Clara and Fosca, assigning the surname Del Nero not to Fosca and her father, whom he names Palmieri, but to the Count--one of several, undeveloped characters in the story and who is, in fact, unsuited to a "dark" symbolism.
But while the narrator's observation in "Fosca" that memory is "a gift bestowed to render the past a beacon and guide for the future" (614) may indeed be a paraphrase of a passage from the first chapter of Fosca--where Giorgio, reflecting on memory, states that "the past is the measure of time that we have traveled, and of how much we have yet to travel" (240)--the didactic tone it adopts lays waste to Tarchetti's more abstract notion.