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Giorgio Scerbanenco

Urban Space, Violence and Gender Identity in Post-War Italian Crime Fiction


Marco Paoli

The works of Giorgio Scerbanenco repeatedly articulate and explore the implications of new forms of criminality that emerged in Italy’s post-war transformation towards its «economic miracle». An indepth analysis of Scerbanenco’s Duca Lamberti series constitutes the critical focus of this study, and in particular the psychological resonances of the role played by the author’s controversial representation of the urban space, its violence, (in)justice and gender roles. In what way do these elements heighten and/or exaggerate the nature of the criminal acts and the reader’s experience? This study therefore investigates a reader’s potential response to the content, the settings, and, above all, the characters Scerbanenco portrays in these four novels.


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1 Giorgio Scerbanenco Duca Lamberti series In English: Duca and the Milan Murders (translated by Eileen Ellenbogen, New York: Walker, 1970). A Private Venus (translated by Howard Curtis, Oxfordshire: Hersilia Press, 2012). Betrayal (translated by Howard Curtis, Oxfordshire: Hersilia Press, 2013). A Private Venus: A Duca Lamberti Noir (translated by Howard Curtis, New York: Melville International Crime, 2014). Traitors of All: A Duca Lamberti Noir (translated by Howard Curtis, New York: Melville International Crime, 2014). In Italian: Venere privata (1966), Garzanti (other edns: 1969; 1976; 1985; 1988; 1990; 1999; 2003; 2014). Traditori di tutti (1966), Garzanti (other edns: 1970; 1971; 1977; 1990; 1999; 2003; 2014). I ragazzi del massacro (1968), Garzanti (other edns: 1969; 1978; 1994; 1999; 2002; 2014). I milanesi ammazzano al sabato (1969), Garzanti (other edns: 1977; 1993; 1999; 2001; 2014). Novels (romanzi) Gli Uomini in Grigio (1935), 20 narrative sections published in Novellino, 16 (21.4) – 35 (1.9). Il terzo amore (1938), 20 narrative sections published in Lei, 8 (22.2)–27 (5.7) (other edn.: Rizzoli, 1938). Il paese senza cielo (1939), 24 narrative sections published in L’Audace, 276 (20.4) – 299 (21.9) (other edn.: Reggio Emilia: Aliberti, 2003). Viaggio di nozze nel labirinto (1939), 6 narrative sections published in Novellissima, 10 (8.6)–15 (13.7) (other edn.: published as Quattro cuori nel buio under the pseudonym John Colemoore, by SACSE, 1941). Sei giorni di preavviso (1940), Mondadori (other edns: 1977; Novara: De Agostini, 1991; Palermo: Sellerio, 2008). 1 All places of publication are Milan unless otherwise stated. Giorgio Scerbanenco: Urban...

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