Lecture: "Democracy and Defeat: Morante, Moravia, and Malaparte in Capri, 1946" by Franco Baldasso (Bard College)


Location: Rare Books and Special Collections 102 Hesburgh Library (View on map )

The Center for Italian Studies is pleased to host a lecture by Professor Franco Baldasso (Bard College), entitled:

Democracy and Defeat: Morante, Moravia, and Malaparte in Capri, 1946

How Italy’s shared memory of Fascism and its cultural heritage took shape remains the most disputed question in the country’s modern history. Taking a cue from the unlikely meeting of Jewish authors Elsa Morante and Alberto Moravia with former Fascist Curzio Malaparte in Capri in 1946, the talk sheds light on the range and fluidity of opinion in years before the ideological struggle fossilized into Cold War oppositions. From conflicting political standpoints these authors challenged the assumption of Italy’s postwar moral regeneration. By stressing the continuity between the new democracy and the previous regime, their works drew attention to Italy’s responsibility in WWII, the legacy of national defeat and of Fascist politics of exclusion, in a time when these questions were conspicuously silenced.

Casa Malaparte Contempt 1

Franco Baldasso is Fellow of the American Academy in Rome and author of two books, Il cerchio di gesso. Primo Levi narratore e testimone (Bologna, 2007); and Curzio Malaparte, la letteratura crudele. KaputtLa pelle e la caduta della civiltà europea (Carocci, 2019). He is also coeditor, with Simona Wright, of an issue of NeMLA-Italian Studies titled “Italy in WWII and the Transition to Democracy: Memory, Fiction, Histories.” His articles have appeared in Modern Language Notes, Romance Notes, The ItalianistModern Language Notes, Context, NeMLA-Italian Studies, Allegoria, Poetiche, and Scritture Migranti. He is the recipient of many awards, including the 2019 Rome Prize in Modern Italian Studies, the Remarque Institute Visiting Fellowship, the Center for Italian Modern Art Affiliated Fellowship at Civitella Ranieri Foundation, and the A. W. Mellon Dissertation Fellowship. Baldasso is external editor of the journal Allegoria, and member of the scientific committee of the Archivio della Memoria della Grande Guerra of the Centro Studi sulla Grande Guerra “P. Pieri” in Vittorio Veneto (TV). He is currently finalizing a book project titled Against Redemption: Democracy, Literature and Memory in Post-Fascist in Italy.

Originally published at italianstudies.nd.edu.


Sponsored by the Center for Italian Studies, College of Arts and Letters and the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, Keough School of Global Affairs.