Tag Archives: Jews

Spunti e Ricerche, vol. 30, 2015

Spunti cover 2015The publication of vol. 30 (2015) of Spunti e Ricerche, ‘The Shaping of Memory’, is imminent. It contains articles by Mirna Cicioni (Telescopes, Microscopes and Film Reels: Memory and History in Three Testimonies of Jewish Childhoods in Italy, 1938-45), Rossella Riccobono (‘Il filo di Arianna’: La stanza del figlio and the Healing Value of Nanni Moretti’s Cinema of Poetry), Sergio Russo (Un’indagine nella memoria: Per una lettura de Il soffio della valanga di Santo Piazzese), Sonia Floriani (Verso la costruzione di una memoria postcoloniale italiana? Linee di analisi fra letteratura e sociologia) and Maria Sergi (From Raw Emotions to Narrative Transformations: A psychoanalytic interpretation of the horse trope in Gianna Manzini’s narrative), plus book reviews by Patrizia Sambuco, Stephen Kolsky, Michela Barisonzi, Brian Zuccala and Antonio Pagliaro. For information on how to order a copy contact Antonio Pagliaro.

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‘In the beginning was boredom’

220px-Alberto_MoraviaThat’s the title of a lengthy commentary on Alberto Moravia and his work by Ian Thomson in the TLS this week (25 Sept). It follows a review of Agostino, a short novel written in 1942, initially censured by the Fascist regime, published in a limited edition in 1943, republished in full by Bompiani in 1945 and described by the reviewer, Michael McDonald, as perhaps Moravia’s magnum opus. Bertolucci’s film of Moravia’s Il conformista is currently being shown in the Lavazza film festival.

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Italian Jewish Musicians and Composers during Fascism

9885024_origThere are voices of musicians that still remain unheard but will remain alive forever. This is the case of Jewish musicians and composers in Fascist and Nazi-Fascist Italy who were excluded from theatres, orchestras and music conservatories and whose compositions were banned as ‘degenerate music’. Their experiences and their fate (exclusion, persecution, emigration) will be the theme of an international conference, Italian Jewish Musicians and Composers during Fascism, organized by the Festival Viktor Ullmann and the University of Trieste with the collaboration of the Fondazione Teatro Lirico Giuseppe Verdi, to be held on 26 October 2015. Scholars from different disciplinary fields will examine the relation between the racist phases of Fascism and the lives and works of Jewish composers and musicians. The conference will also host a round table with relatives and students of the persecuted musicians and composers, who will offer their direct testimonies and memories. Continue reading

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RISM seminar (19 March): Alessandro Carrieri on Jewish musicians in Fascist Italy

la difesa della razzaAs the first contribution to the RISM/Italian Studies in the Community seminars for 2015 Alessandro Carrieri will talk on Memory and resistance of Jewish musicians in Fascist Italy on March 19 at 5.30 pm at Monash Caulfield Campus, Building H, Room HB36.

There are voices of resistance that are little heard but will remain alive forever. This is the case of Italian Jewish musicians and composers in Fascist Italy. The announcement of racial (racist) laws by Benito Mussolini in Trieste on 18 September 1938 covered Jewish composers, notably Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Renzo Massarani, Vittorio Rieti, Aldo Finzi and Leone Sinigaglia. Their situation gradually worsened, they were excluded by theatres, orchestras and music conservatories, and their works were banned as examples of ‘degenerate music’.

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‘Ugly Secrets’? Primo Levi and the Resistance

Mirna Cicioni   Monash University

primo_leviIt is well known that Primo Levi was deported to Auschwitz as a Jew. What is less well-known outside Italy is that he was arrested as a member of one of the first fighting units of the Italian Resistance. Levi consistently made negative judgments about his participation in the Resistance. In his last book, I sommersi e i salvati, he summarises his experiences in four harsh adjectives: “la mia carriera partigiana è stata cosí breve, dolorosa, stupida e tragica” (Opere, II, 1098). On 8 September, the day of Italy’s armistice with the Allies, when Northern Italy became an occupied country, Levi was 24 years old, and had “poco senno, nessuna esperienza, e [. . .] un moderato e astratto senso di ribellione” (I, 7). With his mother and sister, he fled to Amay, a small village in the Aosta Valley, not far from the Swiss border, full of soldiers from the disbanded Italian army and informers from Mussolini’s Italian Social Republic.

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Italian Jewish experiences under Fascism

310+Nuw6I-L._Mirna Cicioni’s recent talk on Primo Levi’s brief time in the Resistance is a reminder how important and controversial the examination of the period remains, particularly as far as the experience of Italian Jews under Fascism is concerned. Stuart Woolf’s substantial review (Passato e presente, 2013, XXXI, 90, 131-143) of the diary of a young lawyer from Ferrara, Nino Contini, between 1940 and 1943 offers a wealth of detail on life in the internment camps and al confino, especially on the relations established between the confinati and their involuntary but far from unwelcoming local hosts. It includes very useful bibliographic references and marks the appearance of a significant addition to the well-known accounts by Carlo Levi and Cesare Pavese of their experiences as confinati in southern Italy.

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Blogs we like #9

icona_PitigrilliIn a recent post on the NYRB blog (Sept 16) Alexander Stille rescues the novelist Dino Segre (alias Pittigrilli) from oblivion. His Cocaine (1921) charts the life and downfall of a dandy in the world of Italy’s not-so-bright young things of the years between the wars. Segre’s own life as a professional cynic, successful journalist and OVRA spy on his Jewish cousin and friends, is a snapshot of that Italy.

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