Two “M”s in the North: Montanelli and Malaparte in Finland
Indro Montanelli (1909–2001) and Curzio Malaparte (1898–1957) were in Finland during World War II, the former as a witness (and envoy) of the “winter war” fought against the Soviet Union by Finland (which had won independence from Russia in 1917), the latter in the years of the “war of continuation”, when hostilities between the two countries continued in the more complex picture of the second phase of the conflict, that is, after Germany had attacked the Soviet Union. Most of their correspondence and annotations, collected in volume, immediately became, for many readers, the representation of an unequal clash between the small but well-prepared army of Finland (David) and the populous ranks of the Red Army (Goliath). In this article, Antonio Sciacovelli highlights, on the basis of his analysis of their writings, how their images of the Finns, the environment and the particular situation of those years were conveyed to Italian readers, in the “story” of the war events.
The impressions on Poland of 1953 by Tommaso Fiore
The article contextualizes and presents an unpublished paper by Tommaso Fiore that served as the text for the series of lectures on Poland given between 1953 and 1954 throughout Italy following his 1953 trip, which would result in the book I corvi scherzano a Varsavia (The crows joke in Warsaw). The document presents in a concise form all the most favourable themes and impressions that had struck the Apulian writer and politician on Poland undergoing reconstruction after the disaster of World War II, in a continuous and hopeful comparison with the fate of the Italian peninsula.
Svetlana Alexievich’s Documentary Prose: Between the Reportage and the Collective Memoir
This essay offers an analysis of the work of Svetlana Alexievich as the most complete expression of documentary prose, defined as a hybrid narrative and combining the genres of the reportage and the collective memoir. This narrative trend attained full development in Soviet literature during the 1970s and is characterized by a transfer from the author to direct witnesses of the narrated events. While Iryna Shylnikova traces the origins of this trend, a diachronic study of documentary prose allows her to reconstruct Svetlana Alexievich’s artistic method. She explains, at the same time, how a recourse to living testimonies on real facts can be transformed into an aesthetic phenomenon. In particular, Shylnikova focuses on Second-hand Time in an attempt to establish the core points of the author’s poetics.
Transparency, Reflection, Dialogue. Lampedusa and Migration in Jarosław Mikołajewski’s „Wielki przypływ" [High Tide]
In her article, Magdalena Horodecka analyzes Jarosław Mikołajewski’s literary reportage Wielki przypływ [High Tide] (2015), approaching the text in the perspective of literary journalism studies and literary anthropology. Key in Horodecka’s interpretation are the tools of journalistic epistemology, particularly the concept of transparency. She also examines ethical issues and the problem of migration. In Mikołajewski’s book, an important role is played by the characteristics of the Italian people who help the refugees. A crucial aspect of his narration and perception is the art of dialogue with the direct witnesses of events. Horodecka also stresses the importance of his reflective attitude, which is stimulated by the landscape of the Lampedusa island.
Ethics and Politics. On the Work of Paweł Smoleński
In her article, Monika Wiszniowska looks into Paweł Smoleński’s creativeness. Smoleński is a reporter and publicist, since 1989 a journalist affiliated with „Gazeta Wyborcza”, and an author of many books in which he has written on Polish and international issues, regarded as the most important observer of Israeli and Middle East affairs. Wiszniowska focuses on Smoleński’s two roles, adequately concretized in two textual layers. The first role is that of a social and political writer, realized in this part of a text which tells the reader about the world, using the available knowledge and acting as a guide to unknown parts of the world. He tries to understand this world, and to explain the phenomena that occurr in it. In his books, Smoleński is not trying to convey or make visible his ideology but rather to present the ideas that influence the text’s structure. One can find those ideas not only in the few passages which present the author’s way of thinking, but above all in deeper layers of narration, where one can discover Smolenski’s perception of the world. The other role is that of a writer-humanist who cannot narrate any complicated events in our present day reality without concentrating on the fate on an individual human being. He listens to his protagonists’ stories as they tell about their experiences but also as they expose their individual ways of thinking. In Smolenski’s tales, not only those concerning the Middle East, we find incorporated an ethical project which is based on such European values as rationalism and the anthropocentric perspective. Both roles complement each other creating the original idiom of Smolenski’s work.
Contemporary Polish Reportage Stories from the South of Italy: Dariusz Czaja, Jarosław Mikołajewski and Paweł Smoleński
Over the past few years, the Polish publishing house Czarne, which specializes in reportage and non-fiction literature, has published several books about Italy. The most obvious element that unites them is undoubtedly the area of the country on which these books focus, and which we could (broadly) define as the South of the Peninsula. After years of glances shot only fleetingly by Polish tourists and artists towards “our” South, suddenly it thus becomes a source of profound socio-cultural reflections, as well as a reference point for reading current events. In this article, Alessandro Ajres discusses the reasons for this change of approach to southern Italy starting from the texts by Dariusz Czaja and moving on to Jarosław Mikołajewski and Paweł Smoleński’s (written by four hands).
A Double Portrait of the Other. Portraying the Female in Julia Blackburn’s „Thin Paths. Journeys in and around an Italian Mountain Village"
In her article, Aleksandra Łasińska analyses the manner of portraying the female Other in Julia’s Blackburn book Thin Paths. Journeys in and around an Italian Mountain Village (Życie zaczyna się we Włoszech). Łasińska examines the techniques used by a newsperson to describe the female Other with the goal of illustrating specific methods, used in the text, of establishing relationships with characters. Łasińska argues that Julia Blackburn is at once the protagonist and the female Other in her book.
Giulia Kamińska Di Giannantonio
Map and Mafia. About Antonio Talia’s „Droga krajowa numer 106"
The author undertakes an analysis of the reportage volume Droga krajowa nr 106. The text reconstructs not only the image of the ‘ndrangheta (i.e., the Calabrian mafia) presented in the reportage but also of Calabria itself, the region from which this criminal organization originates, the local population, the prevailing way of understanding sacrum, and even the atmospheric phenomena typical of the region.
Suspended Identity; or, Linguistic Forms of Exploration and Expressing National Identity on the Example of the Italian Language
Katarzyna Kwapisz-Osadnik’s article is a reflection on Italian identity in the context of united Italy and the standardization of the Italian language. The purpose of the analysis of the linguistic exponents of expressing the subject of an utterance as a part of the research on subjectivity and the linguistic image of the world is to reveal the very essence of contemporary Italian national identity. The research corpus consists of both Internet portals, where users spontaneously express themselves and shift between their Italian and local selves (i.e., between I Italian and I Piedmontese), and online press texts addressed to all Italians and aiming to verify the Italian identity. The analysis shows that Italian identity remains suspended in favor of local identities immersed in the distinct regional histories and cultures and in the various languages.
«D’occulte terre altro emispero»: journey and conquest in Seventeenth-century epic poetry
Between the late Sixteenth century and the first half of the Seventeenth century, an epic production dedicated to the narrative of the discovery and conquest of America became widespread. The customs and traditions of the native peoples and the fascinating nature of those places, untouched by civilization, are made known to European readers through a series of oceanic poems, which correspond to the desire for knowledge and exoticism typical of the 17th century. For these reasons, the American epic, while collaborating in consolidating stereotypes related to ethnicity, well represents the seventeenth-century spirit, animated by a broad and bold project of revolution in every field of knowledge.
Ezio Mauro and his nameless writer
This review deals with the most recent novel written by Italian journalist and former editor-in-chief of la Repubblica Ezio Mauro, Lo scrittore senza nome: processo alla letteratura (2021). The plot revolves around the events that precede and follow the arrest and trial of Russian authors Andrei Sinyavsky and Yuli Daniel. However, from the very beginning, the reader is made aware of the character around whom the story is centered: Yuli Daniel. To tell this story, the author writes a journalistic novel, which is a variation of the traditional literary genres combining fictional and non-fictional elements.