The Mafia in Italian Lives and Literature: Life Sentences and Their Geographies
Published: October 2015© 2015
288 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.80 in
Using an array of cultural documents from 1990 to the present, including diaries, testimonies, fiction, online video postings, and anti-mafia social networks, Robin Pickering-Iazzi examines the myths, values, codes of behaviour, and relationships produced by the Italian mafia through a wide cross-disciplinary lens. The Mafia in Italian Lives and Literature explores the ways that these literary engagements with the mafia relate to broader contemporary Italian life and offer implicit challenges, and a quiet code of resistance, to the trauma and injustice wrought by the mafia in various Italian cities.
Despite the long tradition of representing the mafia in Italian literature, until now women’s contributions to this literature have been overlooked. Pickering-Iazzi’s aim is to encourage new critical reflection on a broader selection of literature through new theoretical lenses in order to enrich our understanding of crime fiction, Sicily and Sicilian identity in literature, narrative traits of the new Italian epic, and the cultural and social functions of storytelling in life and literature.
Introduction: Mafia Cityworlds: Geographies of Narration
1. The Female Mafia Imaginary: Contemporary Mafiose and Gabriella Badalamenti’s Come l’oleandro
2. The Mafia and the (Non)sense of Place: Amelia Crisantino’s Cercando Palermo
3. Maria Rosa Cutrufelli’s Postmodern Geography of impegno: Mafia Urban Desertification in Canto al deserto
4. Mafia Geographies of Voicelessness: Silvana La Spina’s L’ultimo treno da Catania
5. Engendering Testimonial Geographies of Legality: Bodily Interiors, Urban Faces, Cyberspatialities
‘This book provides an exciting analysis of mafia narratives… It will be of great value to scholars interested in Italian and comparative literature, Gender Studies, social justice, Mafia Studies, Trauma Studies, and Sicilian identity, to name just a few.’Amy Boylan, Modern Language Review vol 112:04:2017
"In her detailed and insightful study of the Italian Mafia since 1990, Robin Pickering-Iazzi guides readers through multilayered, cultural, and sociological narratives by women…Her book gives scholars and students new tools and a set of original theoretical approaches to use in contemplating Southern Italian culture and its landscape. It offers a refreshing approach to understanding the geographies of organized crime and those who fight against it."Giovanna De Luca, College of Charleston, Gender/Sexuality/Italy, August 2019
“Written in lucid, captivating prose, The Mafia in Italian Lives and Literature is a fascinating account of the embattled geography of mafia and anti-mafia forces in Italy from the 1980s to the present. An innovative contribution to our understanding of gendered discourse on mafia and anti-mafia cultures, it will appeal to scholars of twentieth-century Italian literature and cultural studies, trauma and memory studies, gender studies, and digital humanities.”Norma Bouchard, Department of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages, University of Connecticut
“Robin Pickering-Iazzi is in the vanguard of critical scholarship on space, literature, and gender in the context of the Italian mafia. Her book promises to change the way we think about the representation of criminality.”Dana Renga, Department of French and Italian, The Ohio State University