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Title: Representing fascism in the Italian post-fascist novel (1945-1965) : Alberto Moravia, Vitaliano Brancati and Vasco Pratolini
Author: Rivalta, Clea
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2013
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In this thesis I intend to analyse a selection of novels written between circa 1945 and 1965, which take the Fascist milieu as their subject. My aim is to investigate how the national past was revisited and reconstructed from the perspective of the newborn Italian Republic. The choices adopted by the selected writers in featuring a relatively 'new' kind of character, the 'Fascist', not only reveal the position of a single author in dealing with Fascism, but are linked to a wider process of manipulation, transmission and sometimes creation of a precise stereotype. The latter, even though revisited differently by each author, shows comparable features and recurrent themes and reveals a complex combination of continuity and reaction in the writers' relationship with the national past. A comparative approach aims to show how the representation of Fascism which emerges from the novels under examination, is related to and/or distant from other readings of the regime (namely political, psychoanalytical, sociological) in the first years after its fall, and it will lead to an analysis of the relationship of the writers with ideology and commitment in general. The thesis focuses on the presence of Fascist characters associated with and described through sexuality and erotic power relations, and the relationship between mass and the individual, which constitute a recurring and not yet fully explored theme in Italian post-war fiction. The thesis is structured in four parts. Part one explores the phase of transition from the regime to the Republic and the relationship between Fascism and fiction during and after the regime. It goes on to explore the representation of the figure of the Duce in literature and some works which combine sexuality and the representation of the regime, such as some novels by Carlo Emilio Gadda and Corrado Alvaro. Part two analyses the novel, Il conformista, by Alberto Moravia and some aspects of his relationship with Fascism. It investigates his representation of Fascism through homosexuality, the negative depiction of anti-Fascism, and the use of psychoanalysis as a key to understanding Fascism. Part three analyses Vitaliano Brancati's work, with a focus on his novel Il bell'Antonio, and the ironic connection between Fascism and gallismo. The chapter investigates the relationship between eros and passivity in the framework of the will to power of Fascism. Part four explores the work of Vasco Pratolini and it is divided in two sections. The first section focuses on the character of 'La signora' in Cronache di poveri amanti, an old lesbian woman who, according to many scholars, symbolizes the Duce. The second section of this chapter examines Un eroe del nostro tempo, a novel in which the character of the 'young Fascist' is represented in the context of post-1945 Italy. It deals with the problem of transition to post-Fascism of a generation who grew up under Fascism and is unprepared to face the new social and political system. This research into the representation of Fascism aims to offer new perspectives into the socio-cultural transformation and transmission of ideas as well as to reveal new affinities and diversities between some major Italian writers. Moreover, this thesis aims to contribute to the understanding of a delicate and controversial historical period, such as that of post-'45 Italy, and to the history of the rhetorical tropes that underlie representations of the Italian national self in contemporary literature.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PQ Romance literatures