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Moravia, Alberto

erotic fascist politics stories

(Italian, 1907–90)

Born Alberto Pincherle in Rome, Moravia was also a journalist and noted cultural commentator. His novels and stories concern politics, psychology, and especially the erotic, and are filled with amoral, macho characters generally alienated from the teeming Roman world around them. They are written in a cool and detached prose. The Woman of Rome (1947), his first commercial success, is the autobiography of a young prostitute involved simultaneously with a radical student and a Fascist bureaucrat, but it is more convincing as a portrait of life in a police state. The Conformist (1951), brilliantly filmed by Bertolucci in 1969, again links sex and politics. Marcello, haunted by an attempted seduction in his boyhood by a chauffeur, represses his homosexuality in marriage and by becoming an assassin for the Fascist state. Moravia's stories are collected in volumes such as The Voice of the Sea (1976), enigmatic short episodes often involving power struggles between the sexes, and Erotic Tales (1983).

Albert Camus, Milan Kundera  JS

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