Mass Media, Mass Culture and Contemporary Italian Fiction
MetadataShow full item record
This dissertation examines the pulp literary trend that developed in Italy from mid 1990s. By analyzing the historical, socio-economical and cultural changes that Italy went through after World War II, I clarify the process by which the traditional elitist literary scene radically transformed into a mass cultural movement targeting young generations of readers. Television plays a key role in the development of this new pulp genre that incorporates its language and, in some cases, even its format. During the period of the Second Republic (1992-2012), also known as the Berlusconi era, the connection between television and politics became so tight that one forged the term "videocrazy" in reference to Italy. I examine the pulp trend as an active response from the Italian literary world aimed to generate socio-political awareness; in this way, one avoided that Italians were relegated to the passive role of spectators or telespettatori with respect to the transformations the country was/is going through. The body of texts that can be grouped under the umbrella term "pulp" is vast. The use of case studies is employed to illustrate more specifically two points: first, the way in which contemporary pulp writers are redefining the task of the intellectual (fiction writer, historian and investigative journalist); second, the legacy interwoven by the new generation of writers with Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922-1975). Pasolini's last novel Petrolio (1992) epitomizes the pulp writers' notion of novel as a historically investigative unfinished sketch: an unidentified narrative object. In an epoch of deep financial and political crisis in Italy, the literary and cultural scenario offers a vibrant response to social anxieties. The pulp trend intuited that in order to overcome the present challenges that Italy is experiencing and to look at the future, one must come to terms with the shadowy past. The pulp trend transformed the book into an instrument of attack for a mass revolution that Italy never really experienced. In the light of this, despite the current general sense of crisis across Europe, the outlook for Italy seems more positive than ever before.