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Italian Fascism - 100 Years On: The Italian Literature of the Axis War: Memories of Self-Absolution and the Quest for Responsibility



Italian Fascism - 100 Years On: The Italian Literature of the Axis War: Memories of Self-Absolution and the Quest for Responsibility

A series of talks organised by ICI London and ASMI

It was the world’s first fascist movement and would have a lasting and ongoing impact in political and social life in many regions of the world. To discuss its meaning and consequences, the Italian Cultural Institute will host a series of conversations and discussions looking at new research and contemporary interpretations of Italian fascism. Themes to be discussed include violence, antifascism, Mussolini as a model for other strongmen, the fascist empire, Mussolini and his image, the March on Rome, Italian history and violence and the biographies of leading fascists and antifascists.
Tuesday 21 September, 6pm

The Italian Literature of the Axis War: Memories of Self-Absolution and the Quest for Responsibility (Palgrave, 2021)

Guido Bartolini in conversation with Giuliana Pieri, Charles Leavitt, and Rosario Forlenza. Chaired by John Foot.

This book offers the first in-depth analysis of the Italian literature of the Axis War – the wars of aggression that Fascist Italy fought in North Africa, Greece, the Soviet Union, and the Balkans, from 1940 to 1943 – examining an extensive corpus of novels and memoirs published between the post-war years to the early 1970s. Building on an innovative and interdisciplinary methodology, which combines memory studies, historiography, thematic criticism, and narratology, the book explores the main topoi, themes, and masterplots of this corpus of little known texts to assess the contribution of literature to the formation of the Italian collective memory of World War II.
Through meticulous close readings, the book unmasks the self-absolving narrative strategies through which Democratic Italy narrated the country’s participation in the Axis War. Using literary texts as a source to dig into Italy’s historical consciousness, the book reveals the ethical limits that affected the Italian memory of Fascism and shows the resistance of Italian culture to narrating stories that could foster awareness of the crimes that members of the national community had committed during World War II.

Guido Bartolini is a cultural historian and literary scholar working as an IRC Postdoctoral Fellow in Italian Studies at University College Cork (UCC), where he develops a project on the cultural memory of Fascism in literature and cinema. Following his PhD at Royal Holloway University of London, he lectured at Royal Holloway and The Warburg Institute. He collaborated with the IMLR Centre for the Study of Cultural Memory for which he curated the interdisciplinary seminar series Mediated Memories of Responsibility. Dr Bartolini’s research interests include the relationship between literature and memory, memory theory, the legacy of Fascism, and the idea of responsibility for the past.

Giuliana Pieri is Professor in Italian and the Visual Arts and Head of the School of Humanities at Royal Holloway University of London. She has published widely on 19th and 20th century visual culture, cultural history, and popular literature. Her research interests are firmly in the area of comparative and interdisciplinary studies, especially the intersection of the verbal and the visual, and the role of Italian visual culture in the construction of Italian identity both in Italy and abroad. Recent volumes include The Cult of the Duce. Mussolini and the Italians (2013, with S. Gundle and C. Duggan), and Italian Crime Fiction (2011). As Principal Investigator, Professor Pieri’s contribution to Interdisciplinary Italy 1900-2020: Interart/Intermedia focuses on Italian Modernism and the intersection between design (pre- and postwar) and Italian culture as part of the project’s collaboration with the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art.

Charles Leavitt is Assistant Professor of Italian at the University of Notre Dame. A Faculty Fellow of the Nanovic Institute for European Studies and a Research Fellow of the University of Reading, Professor Leavitt is a scholar of modern and contemporary Italian culture and history. He is the author of Italian Neorealism: A Cultural History (University of Toronto Press, 2020), which was awarded the 2020 Book Prize for Visual Studies, Film and Media from the American Association of Italian Studies. The book adopts a comprehensive, comparative, and interdisciplinary approach to describe and analyse a neorealist project encompassing film, literature, theatre, art and architecture, cultural criticism, and political and intellectual debate. Professor Leavitt serves on the editorial boards of the journals Italian Studies and the Italianist.

Rosario Forlenza is an Assistant Professor of History in the Department of Political Science at LUISS University, Rome. He is the author of On the Edge of Democracy: Italy, 1943–1948 (Oxford University Press, 2019); co-author, with Bjørn Thomassen, of Italian Modernities: Competing Narratives of Nationhood (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016); and co-editor, with Mark Luccarelli and Steven Colatrella, of Bringing the Nation Back In: Cosmopolitanism, Nationalism, and the Struggle to Define a New Politics (SUNY Press, 2020). He has also published over forty peer-reviewed articles, most notably in The American Historical Review, Past&Present, and Contemporary European History. He is currently working on a comparative history of revolution from the perspective of political anthropology, on trickster politics in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and on the transformation of Catholic politics in modern European and global history.

John Foot is Professor of Modern Italian History at the School of Modern Languages, University of Bristol. A renowned historian, Professor Foot spent twenty years in Milan in the 1980s and 1990s and specialises in twentieth century and contemporary Italian history on which he has published extensively. His publications include: Milan Since the Miracle; Calcio. A History of Italian Football; Italy's Divided Memory; Pedalare! Pedalare!; The Man Who Closed the Asylums and, more recently, The Archipelago. Italy since 1945. Professor Foot is also a regular contributor to The Guardian, the Times Literary Supplement and History Today.

Philip Cooke is Professor of Italian History and Culture at Strathclyde University and Chair of ASMI. Among his recent publications: ‘Italian Resistance Historiography’, in A Homage to Stuart Hood (2020) and ‘Claudio Pavone all’estero’ in Mestiere di storico e impegno civile (2019).

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Data: Mar 21 Set 2021

Orario: Alle 18:00

Ingresso : Libero


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