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Investigating Fascism

Crime, Mystery, and the Fascist Ventennio in the Historical Novel


Angelo Castagnino

Investigating Fascism offers an original approach to the historical novel and its connection to crime fiction. The study of contemporary novels set during Mussolini’s rule, with specific attention to the topics of violence, justice, mystery, and personal identity, leads to a discussion about, among others, Leonardo Sciascia, Maurizio De Giovanni, Carlo Lucarelli, and Andrea Camilleri. This text is based on two intertwining approaches: (1) an analysis of the ‘machine’ of the novel, focused on such aspects as characterization, the construction of the setting, and the narrative use of fantastic and subversive elements and (2) an analysis of the sociohistorical Fascist context. This book is a valuable reference for those who study Fascism, the social function of crime novels, and the connection between historical events and fiction.

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Chapter 6. Fascism from Afar: Historical Novels Set Abroad



Fascism from Afar

Historical Novels Set Abroad

In the third volume of Il sole dell’avvenire, titled Nella notte ci guidano le stelle (2016), Valerio Evangelisti temporarily transfers the struggle of Italian anti-Fascism abroad, using the Spanish Civil War as the setting for the personal quest of Reglio and Destino, two of the novel’s main characters. As with many novels and historiographical works addressing the Spanish Civil War, Evangelisti’s narrative revolves around the ideological incompatibility between the different groups comprising the anti-Fascist troops, a fracture that favored Francisco Franco and eventually compromised any possibility of his defeating. Defending the Spanish Republic offered Italian volunteers the opportunity to fight Fascism abroad, in a historical moment that saw the peak of Mussolini’s influence upon Italian citizens. The dual value of the Spanish cause emerges from the words with which Reglio addresses Destino in an attempt to convince him to embrace his own ideological position: “La cosa migliore è che tu abbandoni gli stracci rossoneri e raggiunga le Brigate internazionali: compagni di tutto il mondo venuti a difendere la repubblica democratica. Ce ne sono due italiane, la Garibaldi e la Matteotti. Il Duce lo si combatte anche qua / The best thing would be for you to abandon the red and black rags and join the international Brigades: comrades from all over the world have arrived to defend the democratic Republic. Two Brigades are Italian:←129 | 130→ the Garibaldi and the Matteotti. One can fight the Duce even...

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