The Holocaust in Italian literature / by Risa B. Sodi.
This study is predicated on the assumption that there is a culture of the Holocaust in Italy and that its strongest manifestation is the literature of the Holocaust in Italian. The text-based analysis that forms the crux of the dissertation is grounded in a theoretical matrix (drawing on the formulations of Ezrahi, Langer, Fussell, and Deleuze and Guattari) and tied to the historical context of early twentieth-century Italian Jewry. The discussion that follows tracks eight representative Italian authors, focusing first-off on four Jewish Holocaust survivors. Foremost among this latter group is Primo Levi, whose Holocaust-related works are examined not so much for their moral import or ethical implications (previously analyzed by the author) but for the ways in which Levi was able to craft an uniquely Italian rhetoric of the Holocaust. Bruno Piazza, the subject of a subsequent chapter, was a Triestine author whose personal and family history mirrored the main political and social trends in that city over a hundred-year period, culminating in his able, moving and underappreciated Holocaust memoir, Perche gli altri dimenticano. Giuliana Tedeschi, author of C'e un punto della terra ... Una donna nel Lager di Birkenau, and Liana Millu, author of Il fumo di Birkenau (among other works), are grouped together for a certain striking communality of themes (centering on issues of love, marriage, childbirth and the post-war return to Italy) though they are quite distinct in terms of literary abilities, purposes in writing, and mode (non-fiction vs. fiction). The final chapter of the study looks at length at four authors of Holocaust fiction (Giacomo Debenedetti, Elsa Morante, Giorgio Bassani and Paolo Maurensig) in order to examine the goals and impact of their works and their links to Holocaust writing (in some cases involving the appropriation of Holocaust themes for unrelated ideological or literary ends). The dissertation ends with a look at other expressions of Italian Holocaust culture (poetry, film, song, etc.) and a brief conclusion.
Record last modified: 2018-05-22 11:46:00
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