Conversation: The Holocaust in Italian Culture: Robert Gordon and Stefania Lucamante in discussion with David Forgacs
Robert Gordon (University of Cambridge) in conversation with Stefania Lucamante (Catholic University of America) on the occasion of the publication of their new books.
Robert Gordon, The Holocaust in Italian Culture, Stanford University Press, 2012 and Stefania Lucamante, Quella difficile identità: Ebraismo e rappresentazioni letterarie della Shoah. Rome: Iacobelli, 2012
In the Holocaust in Italian Culture of Gordon, Italy's connections with the Holocaust are shown as deep, complex and contradictory. Italian Fascism was the model for Nazi Germany and Mussolini was Hitler's prime ally in the Second World War, which saw genocide enacted against Europe's Jews and other ethnic groups. Italy also became a theater of war and many Italians were victims of Nazi persecution after 1943, with resistance, collaboration and civil war raging, and deportations of Jews and others to the concentration camps proceeding apace. After the war, through the work of writers such as Primo Levi, Giorgio Bassani and Natalia Ginzburg, and filmmakers such as Lina Wertmuller, Roberto Benigni and Franscesco Rosi, Italy struggled to give shape to and come to terms with the Holocaust's difficult legacy. Robert Gordon's The Holocuast in Italian Culture, 1944-2010 (Stanford University Press) is the first wide-ranging study of how Italy confronted or failed to confront the Holocaust over the postwar era, in a rich analysis of a wide array of cultural production. The book examines a wide range of cultural material - from books and publishers, to films, museums and monuments, music, politics, associations and public events - to paint a picture of this shared encounter with the darkest recent history. In doing so, it probes aspects of both Italian national identity and memory, and offers a model of studying international and transnational Holocaust cultures.
Stefania Lucamante book is study on the representations of the Holocaust in women’s writing spans from the early memoirs of survivors through the reflections of three generations of writers. In the works of Liana Millu, Lidia Beccarla Rolfi, Giulia Tedeschi, Edith Bruck, Lia Levi, Giacoma Limentani, Helena Janeczek, Rosetta Loy and Elsa Morante, Lucamante explores forms of expression and mechanisms of transmission which she identifies as uniquely tied to feminine sensibility.