Home Special Groups • Stupendous, Miserable City: Pasolini's Rome by John David Rhodes

Stupendous, Miserable City: Pasolini's Rome by John David Rhodes

By John David Rhodes

John David Rhodes areas town of Rome on the middle of this unique and in-depth exam of the paintings of Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini—but it’s now not the classical Rome you think. Stupendous, depressing City situates Pasolini in the heritage of twentieth-century Roman city improvement. The e-book focuses first at the Fascist interval, whilst populations have been moved out of the city middle and into public housing at the outer edge of the town, known as the borgate, after which turns to the revolutionary social housing experiments of the Nineteen Fifties. those environments have been the settings of such a lot of Pasolini’s motion pictures of the early to mid-1960s.


Discussing motion pictures similar to Accattone, Mamma Roma, and The Hawks and the Sparrows, Rhodes indicates how Pasolini used the borgate to critique Roman city making plans and neorealism and to attract recognition to the contemptuous therapy of Rome’s negative. To Pasolini, the borgate, rich in human incident, linguistic distinction, and squalor, “were life”—and now his ardour could be liked totally for the 1st time.


Carefully tracing Pasolini’s superb engagement with this a part of Rome and searching past his motion pictures to discover the interrelatedness of all of Pasolini’s creative output within the Nineteen Fifties and 1960s—including his poetry, fiction, and journalism—Rhodes opens up thoroughly new methods of figuring out Pasolini’s paintings and proves how attached Pasolini was once to the political and social upheavals in Italy on the time.


John David Rhodes is lecturer in literature and visible tradition on the college of Sussex.

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He taught the local schoolchildren, using innovative and creative pedagogical techniques —inventing fables to teach Latin lessons, asking students to bring him folksongs for literary analysis—that won him the love of his students and the gratitude of their parents. He began as well to take an especially keen interest in the “mother tongue” of the region, Friulian, a local dialect possessed of its own, ever more local subdialects. Pasolini seized on Friulian as a vehicle for his own creative purposes, but the Friulian that Pasolini began to compose in was an invention all his own.

44 Ch a pt e r 2 “Rome, Ringed by Its Hell of Suburbs” S hortly after the close of World War II, Pasolini was living in Friuli, the northern Italian region of his maternal ancestry, where he had waited out the war’s devastation with his family, managing to avoid active duty on a student’s dispensation. He had taken up residence in the village of Casarsa, his mother Susanna’s hometown, when at last — after the war’s interruption —he received his laurea, his degree, from the University of Bologna, where he completed a thesis on the nineteenthcentury Italian poet Giovanni Pascoli.

Rome, Ringed by Its Hell of Suburbs” the landscape against which both mind and body rub themselves is all cut of the same voluptuous cloth. This is the autoerotic ego remaking nature in its own image. Different from the identification with nature as might be performed in Romantic poetry, here nature is subsumed by the ultra-refined and narcissistic ego of the speaker —an action more closely identified, again, with the decadent poetry of the fin de siècle. 12 And it is the landscape that seems at once to be harnessed into the service of poetic expression and also that thing whose meaning poetry cannot penetrate.

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