Italian novels of peasant crisis, 1930–1950

Bonfires in the night

Brian Moloney

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ISBN: 1-85182-880-X
May 2005. 256pp.

This book brings together the insights of historians and critics to examine the account given in a range of novels of the effect on peasant society of Fascist ruralist policies and the post-Second World War struggles for land reform. The authors whose works are discussed include Ignazio Silone, Carlo Levi, Francesco Jovine and Cesare Pavese. Pavese turns rural Piedmont into a paradigm of the nation to reveal the tensions of post-war Italy, while Silone, Levi and Jovine not merely challenge traditional stereotypes of the south but challenge the north's conventional assumptions of superiority by offering peasant society as the source of alternative values. The themes of community and ownership of the land run though the novels discussed.

Brian Moloney, emeritus professor of Italian, University of Hull, has written on a wide range of modern authors. His recent books include Italo Svevo narratore. Lezioni Triestine (1998) and (with John Gatt-Rutter) 'This England is so different ...' Italo Svevo's London writings (2003).