Monday, September 15, 2014

Memories of WWII, the Resistance and the Holocaust in Italian Literature

World War II has been a crucial period for Italy’s history. In few years the country experienced the doomed alliance with Germany and the persecution of the Jews, the armistice and the Resistance, and finally the liberation. At the end of what many historians now considers as a civil war, Italy turned from dictatorship to democracy for the first time in its history. The short stories and books analysed in my course reflect upon this critical period of Italy’s history at various levels. They are: Renato Amato’s “Only a Matter of Grammar” (in The Full Circle of the Travelling Cuckoo, 1967); Beppe Fenoglio’s Una questione private (1963, translated as A Private Affair, 2007); Curzio Malaparte’s La Pelle (1947, translated as The Skin, 1988); and Primo Levi’s Se questo è un uomo (1947 and 1958, translated as If This is a Man in 1959). All these books are available in English. Therefore, this course will be appealing not only to people who know the Italian language, but also to lovers of literature and history in general. Sessions are interactive and discussion is encouraged. 
The course could consist of four two-hour lectures held on Thursday evening from 6pm to 8pm from from 18 September to 9 October.
Barbara Pezzotti teaches Italian language and culture at University of Auckland. She has published several articles and book chapters on Italian contemporary literature. She is also a former journalist for the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 ore (the Italian equivalent of the Financial Times or Wall Street Journal).