Giovanna Zangrandi: negotiating fascism

Morris, P. (1998) Giovanna Zangrandi: negotiating fascism. Italian Studies, pp. 94-121. (doi:10.1179/its.1998.53.1.94)

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When, in February 1955, the face of the forty-five-year-old Giovanna Zangrandi appeared on the pages of Epoca, it was the publication of her prize-winning, first novel, I Brusaz, and her unusual lifestyle as landlady, writer, and mountaineer living in the picturesque resort of Cortina d'Ampezzo, that caught the imagination of her interviewer, Roberto De Monticelli. Although originally from Emilia Romagna, Zangrandi and her novel seemed thoroughly immersed in the culture and natural environment of this remote area. In later years, she would be associated not only with the Cadore, but more particularly with a precise period in its history: the armed Resistance to fascism between 1943 and 1945. Indeed, Zangrandi's participation in the Resistance as a partisan with the garibaldini came to be regarded as the most significant feature of her life and writing. Yet, as is the case of many Italians, Zangrandi's involvement with the Resistance only began shortly after the fall of the fascist regime in 1943; before this date she does not seem to have been a member of any antifascist group and her activities point to a participation in fascist institutions, rather than any attempt to undermine them. During her student days at Bologna University, she had joined the Giovent├╣ Universitaria Fascista, and, according to a postwar newspaper article she wrote, she had joined the PNF in 1934. When she moved to Cortina d'Ampezzo, she became a member of the local Fasci Femminili and was made female sports officer in 1939. She also contributed to local newspapers, which, given fascist policies regarding the media, meant writing for a press whose purpose was to provide propaganda for the regime. Nevertheless, this period of her life, during the fascist regime and prior to her involvement in the Resistance, has tended to be ignored. That has not only prejudiced assessments of Zangrandi's post-war writing, but has also failed to take account of the insights Zangrandi's articles in the fascist press provide for the study of women and fascism (especially as she belonged to the middle class identified as providing so much support for the regime), and for research into the press and regional history of this period. An analysis of Zangrandi's work as a fascist journalist can be put into context better by first examining her later writing and her presentation of fascism in the post-war period. In this way, the picture of her interests and relationship with fascism as they emerge from her writing under the censorship of the regime may be compared to the manner in which she chose to present them afterwards, when there was no longer formal government censorship, but when influences and constraints on her writing as a journalist and author came from elsewhere

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Morris, Dr Penelope
Authors: Morris, P.
Subjects:P Language and Literature > PQ Romance literatures
D History General and Old World > DG Italy
College/School:College of Arts > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > Italian
Journal Name:Italian Studies
ISSN (Online):1748-6181

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