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Il realismo di un nuovissimo medio evo: Boccaccio in the age of neorealism

Leavitt IV, C. L. (2016) Il realismo di un nuovissimo medio evo: Boccaccio in the age of neorealism. Tre Corone, III. pp. 135-156. ISSN 2421-0277

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1400/239168


After the war Italian artists and intellectuals saw a significant and necessary confluence between their political desire to create a "new." Italy and their cultural ambition to re-invigorate the study of medieval Italy. This tendency is particularly evident, I argue, in the post-war scholarly and critical focus on Boccaccio, and especially Boccaccio’s Decameron. Not only within the academy but also in the popular press, Boccaccio was granted pride of place in the canon, venerated as the pioneer of socially conscious vernacular literary realism, the archetype for the pursuit of artistic truth in the face of social upheaval. As a result, I wish to suggest, Italian neorealism, which rose to prominence in the first years after the Second World War, was in a significant sense imbued with and realised through a profound engagement with the work of Boccaccio. In turn, the cultural currents affiliated with neorealism influenced Boccaccio studies, whose operative notions of medieval «realism» were to a perhaps surprising degree stimulated by approaches to the neo-realist poetics at work in the Italian films, novels, and criticism of the 1940s and ’50s. Situating the critical discourse surrounding Boccaccio within the post-war Italian context can therefore serve to shed unexpected light on both the cultural affirmation of neorealism and the disciplinary configuration of Italian medieval studies.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > Languages and Cultures > Italian
ID Code:45832
Publisher:Fabrizio Serra Editore

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