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Beyond the Piazza

Public and Private Spaces in Modern Italian Culture


Edited By Simona Storchi

The volume is a collection of essays focussing on the cultural construction, perception and representation of public and private spaces in 20th and 21st century Italian culture. Through the study of a variety of spaces, this book provides an exploration of the notions of private self and public sphere and considers their interaction. It focuses on areas where the spheres of public and private merge, meet or clash, and assesses the role played by spatial practices and representations in the complex coexistence, mutual definition and constant negotiation of public and private. It offers a variety of approaches, ranging from literature to history, art history, film and cultural studies. It brings to the fore issues relating to the production of space, such as perceptions and definitions of the self and privacy, the politics of the private and public, gender representations, the construction of collective and cultural memory, and the relationship between the individual and the urban environmnent.


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PART III URBAN SPACES: BETWEEN REALITY AND IMAGINATION 151 CHAPTER 8 Private and Public Spaces. The Anatomy of three Italian Cities Caserta, Bologna, Milan Laura RORATO Bangor University The contemporary city seems to refuse to be described and analysed in the terms used by scholars in the past; its representation seems to slip from our grasp. And it has slipped from the grasp of administrators and politicians, architects and sociologists, anthropologists and town planners. (Gomorra, May 2004, 45) The proliferation of fictional texts devoted to Italian cities has been progressively increasing since the beginning of the twenty-first century,1 a trend which was probably initiated by the publication of Alessandro Baricco’s City in 1999.2 Besides, during the period 2003-2007 five issues of the journal Gomorra, published by Meltemi and edited by the sociologist Massimo Ilardi, were devoted to individual Italian cities: two to Rome (June 2003 and October 2004), one to Bologna (May 2004), one to Genova (March 2005) and one to Catania (November 2006).3 As the opening quote indicates, the city seems to demand new forms of representation and interpretation. This article analyses the literary portrayal of three Italian cities, namely Caserta, as described by Antonio Pascale in La città distratta,4 Bologna, as captured by Emidio Clemen- 1 In 2006, the publishing house Laterza alone, for instance, brought out four books on Italian cities written by various authors such as Covacich (Trieste), Cilento (Naples), Stancanelli (Florence) and Scateni who edited a collection of short stories entitled Periferie....

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