Dr Guido Bartolini
Dr Guido Bartolini
Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellow, funded by the Irish Research Council
Dr Guido Bartolini is an expert on the Italian cultural memory of Fascism and World War II and the relationship between literature and memory. He studied at University of Florence and University of Oxford, and he completed an AHRC funded doctorate at Royal Holloway University of London. He is the author of the The Italian Literature of the Axis War: Memories of Self-Absolution and the Quest for Responsibility (Palgrave Macmillan: 2021). In the academic year 2020-2021, he curated the interdisciplinary seminar series ‘Mediated Memories of Responsibility’ hosted by the Centre for the Study of Cultural Memory of IMLR. For UCC, he is currently curating the conference ‘Cultural Memory of Past Dictatorships: Narratives of Implication in a Global Perspective’.
Adapting to a Difficult Heritage: The Memory and Responsibility for Fascism in Italian Literature and Cinema
With the one-hundredth anniversary of Fascism's seizure of power approaching, the time seems ripe for reconsidering how Italian culture negotiated the legacy of its totalitarian past. The current dominant paradigm, supported by major scholars of Italian Fascism, contends that Italy has been unable to deal with this difficult heritage. This project aims to validate, further explain, and also problematise this interpretation by exploring the representation of the Fascist dictatorship in a wide body of largely canonical works of fiction (by Bassani, Bevilacqua, Brancati, Ginzburg, Manzini, Morante, Moravia, Pratolini, and Sciascia) and their filmic adaptations, produced in the period 1945-1990. This enquiry will demonstrate that Italian culture addressed the Fascist past through numerous narrative strategies revolving around ideas of: political identity, masculinity, national character, and power. These discourses, however, downplayed the notions of collective and individual responsibility for the past. By relying on cutting-edge theories of Memory Studies and the interdisciplinary scholarship on the notion of responsibility, this research project will demonstrate that the lack of narratives of responsibility has constituted the main shortcoming of the Italian memory of Fascism.