Politics and Society in Italian Crime Fiction

An Historical Overview


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About the Book

This book comprehensively covers the history of Italian crime fiction from its origins to the present. Using the concept of “moral rebellion,” the author examines the ways in which Italian crime fiction has articulated the country’s social and political changes. The book concentrates on such writers as Augusto de Angelis (1888–1944), Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911–1969), Leonardo Sciascia (1921–1989), Andrea Camilleri (b. 1925), Loriano Macchiavelli (b. 1934), Massimo Carlotto (b. 1956), and Marcello Fois (b. 1960). Through the analysis of writers belonging to differing crucial periods of Italy’s history, this work reveals the many ways in which authors exploit the genre to reflect social transformation and dysfunction.

About the Author(s)

Barbara Pezzotti teaches Italian Studies at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia and is an Honorary Research Associate of the Australasian Centre for Italian Studies (ACIS). She is the author of three monographs on Italian crime fiction.

Bibliographic Details

Barbara Pezzotti
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 244
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7652-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1356-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Preface 1
Introduction 3
Part I—Italian Crime Fiction from Its Origins to Fascism
1. Giallo Between Social Criticism and Propaganda 9
2. Augusto De Angelis 25
Part II—Italian Crime Fiction from the 1950s to the 1970s
3. The Gumshoe Gets Political 41
4. Giorgio Scerbanenco 58
5. Leonardo Sciascia 75
6. Loriano Macchiavelli 94
Part III—Italian Crime Fiction from the 1980s to the 2000s
7. The Sleuth Versus Berlusconi 113
8. Andrea Camilleri 136
9. Massimo Carlotto 152
10. Marcello Fois 167
Conclusions 183
Chapter Notes 189
Bibliography 208
Index 228

Book Reviews & Awards

“an essential anthology”—Incontri; “highlights the important function Italian crime fiction had, and still has, in reflecting the social and political issues of contemporary Italy…a great addition…a model of investigative fiction”—Annali d’italianistica; “a valuable addition to the discussion on crime and investigation in Italian literature”—Italica; “A timely and fascinating study of Italian crime fiction as politically committed art, it brilliantly illuminates how the genre both reflects and more importantly intervenes in the important social and political changes of the 20th and 21st centuries.”—Andrew Pepper, Queen’s University Belfast; “Through a careful reading of the works of some of the major writers of detective fiction from its origins to the present, Barbara Pezzotti provides a lucid and comprehensive overview of the development of the genre in Italy. She astutely demonstrates how, far from being pure escapism, Italian detective fiction has always aimed at being the nation’s critical conscience, shedding light on and articulating a critique of its social disorders and dysfunctions. A crucial book to understand why the genre has become so important in the current literary landscape.”—Luca Somigli, University of Toronto; “Interweaving history and context with full accounts of major authors, Pezzotti demonstrates for the first time how crime fiction has dynamically energized the social and political self-consciousness of modern Italy.”—Stephen Knight, Melbourne University.