Trends in Contemporary Italian Narrative 1980-2007
Editor: Gillian Ania and Ann Hallamore Caesar
Date Of Publication: Sep 2007
The ‘new Italian narrative’ that began to be spoken about in the 1980s was not associated with a single writer or movement but with an eclectic and varied production. The eight essays that make up this volume set out to give a flavour of the breadth and range of recent trends and developments. The collection opens with two essays on crime fiction. In the first, Luca Somigli examines novels dealing with topical issues or recent history and which reveal a strong indigenous and regional tradition, while in the second, Nicoletta McGowan discusses the particular case of a noir by Claudia Salvatori. They are followed by essays on two of Italy’s best-known contemporary writers: Marina Spunta’s essay explores the representation of space, place and landscape in the work of Gianni Celati and photographer Luigi Ghirri, while Darrell O’Connell analyses the fiction of Vincenzo Consolo, and his struggle to find a means of representing an ethical stance within fiction.
Two essays then examine the role of the anthology for young writers: Charlotte Ross and Derek Duncan in the context of lesbian and gay writing, looking at identity politics and the problematics of categorization; Monica Jansen and Inge Lanslots in that of the “Young Cannibals”, and their often unsettling non-literary language and orientation towards cinema, pop music and slang. The penultimate essay, by Jennifer Burns, discusses the literature of migrants to Italy, focusing on questions of identity, memory, mobility and language, while the final contribution, by Gillian Ania, is a study of apocalypse and dystopia in contemporary writing, looking at novels by Vassalli, Capriolo, Avoledo and Pispisa.
"This volume examines Italian narrative from the 1980s to the present, from the original viewpoint of genres, categories, trends, rather than author-based analyses. It highlights the innovations of the last twenty years, incorporating into the various themes well known writers like Consolo, Celati and Vassalli, with relative newcomers like Avoledo and Pispisa. The contributors to the volume, academics from the UK, Ireland, Canada, Belgium, cover a wide range of themes which have come to the fore during this period, ranging from detective stories (both the giallo and the noir) to lesbian and gay writing, to immigration literature in Italian, to the study of apocalypse and dystopia. The themes are contextualized in the socio-political and cultural changes taking place in Italy, and parallel to this the temporal moments of the narratives are in turn related to their historical realities.
This is a richly woven account which presents post '80s Italian narrative from a new and stimulating angle, in eight lucid and informative essays which will be welcomed by all those interested in contemporary fiction in its cultural context."
—Professor Anna Laura Lepschy, Department of Italian, University College London
Gillian Ania is Senior Lecturer in Italian at the University of Salford. Her main research focus is 20th-century Italian fiction, and recent publications include a monograph on Paola Capriolo, and a co-edited volume on Italian Narrative in the Sixties and Seventies.
Ann Hallamore Caesar is Professor of Italian at the University of Warwick. She has published widely on 19th- and 20th-century literature and culture, recently completing a co-authored Cultural History of Italian Literature since 1690 for Polity Press.
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