Prison Terms

Prison Terms: Representing Confinement During and After Italian Fascism

ELLEN V. NERENBERG
Copyright Date: 2001
Pages: 224
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/9781442678750
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  • Book Info
    Prison Terms
    Book Description:

    An analysis of the confinement experience in Italian narrative between 1930 and 1960, covering the last years of Fascism. Not limiting herself to prisons, Nerenberg also explores military barracks, convents, and brothels as carceral homologues.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7875-0
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-2)
  4. Chapter One Introduction: Prisons and Their Analogues
    (pp. 3-28)

    These epigraphs present the pole stars for this study, which takes as its subject the multiform representation of prison in Italy between the years 1930 and 1960. Discretely, each statement supplies a partial and perspectival frame for the material I consider here. Paolo Orano’s pro-Mussolini declaration offers a local perspective saturated by Fascist rhetorical strategies of the consolidated Regime.¹ Orano presents a demiurgic Duce, who had enjoyed – by the time Orano issued this statement in 1937 – more than a decade of unopposed rule. Orano’s analogy of the construction yard is noteworthy for the way it suggests a masculinist...

  5. Chapter Two Barracks and Borders, Prisons and Masculinity
    (pp. 29-60)

    Although his sole physical complaint is a low-grade fever, Giovanni Corte in Dino Buzzati’s 1937 short story ‘I sette piani’ (Seven Storeys) is advised to seek medical attention in a renowned sanatorium ‘in cui non si curava che quell’unica malattia’ [where they treated only patients suffering from that particular illness].¹ The hospital’s seven storeys represent the illness’s varying degrees of gravity: the least infirm patients quarter on the seventh floor, the next healthiest on the sixth, and so on until the rooms of the truly moribund are reached at ground level. Anticipating Foucault’s consideration inDiscipline and Punish, Corte approves...

  6. Chapter Three Penitents and Penitentiaries: Interstices, Resistance, Freedom
    (pp. 61-104)

    Just released from thecarcere giudiziario(trial-pending jail), Curzio Malaparte was on board a southbound train from Rome when he met a soldier of the occupying German armed forces. Someone in the crowded compartment asked the haggard-looking Malaparte whether he was returning from the front, whereupon the soldier scoffed that Italy no longer had a front, nor were cries of ‘viva il Duce’ heard any longer. He hadn’t left the front, Malaparte explained, but, rather, Regina Coeli. ‘Che cos’è Regina Coeli?’ the soldier queried. ‘Un convento?’ [What is this Regina Coeli? A convent?].¹ Not a convent, Malaparte corrected, a prison....

  7. Chapter Four Love for Sale; or, That’s Amore: Brothels, Prison, Revision
    (pp. 105-136)

    When Tunin (Giancarlo Giannini), the protagonist of Lina Wertmüller’sUn film d’amore e d’anarchia(Love and Anarchy, 1972), sleeps through his scheduled attempt on Mussolini’s life, he becomes enraged and, rushing around the brothel that has served as his hiding place, shoots an officer of the carabinieri, who are there on another matter. Tunin then runs wildly from the brothel, and chaos brings up the rear. This chaos takes the form of the motley group that draws together prostitutes of all shapes and sizes, their custodians, and the carabinieri who are in Tunin’s pursuit. In the brief contretemps that ends...

  8. Chapter Five House Arrest
    (pp. 137-176)

    Alessandra’s failure to exonerate herself for the murder of her husband in Alba de Céspedes’s 1949 novelDalla parte di lei(The Best of Husbands) gives exemplary literary expression to the captivity of women in postwar Italy. The male-public, female-private dichotomy is impelled to its dramatic conclusion in this novel, where the female subject is rendered criminal by male juridical prerogative. Detained for Francesco’s murder, Alessandra tells her story from prison and in the form of a lengthy confession. She does not proffer the gender-neutral prisoner Simone Weil describes in a 1951 entry in herCahiers, that ‘human being’ (être...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 177-222)
  10. Bibliography
    (pp. 223-252)
  11. Index
    (pp. 253-259)