Pasolini: The Sacred Flesh
Published: September 2015© 2015
352 Pages, 6.45 x 9.38 x 1.15 in
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Poet, novelist, dramatist, polemicist, and filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini continues to be one of the most influential intellectuals of post-war Italy. In Pasolini: The Sacred Flesh, Stefania Benini examines his corporeal vision of the sacred, focusing on his immanent interpretation of the Christian doctrine of the Incarnation and the “sacred flesh” of Christ in both Passion and Death as the subproletarian flesh of the outcast at the margins of capitalism.
By investigating the many crucifixions within Pasolini’s poems, novels, films, cinematic scripts and treatments, as well as his subversive hagiographies of criminal or crazed saints, Benini illuminates the radical politics embedded within Pasolini’s adoption of Christian themes. Drawing on the work of theorists such as Ernesto De Martino, Mircea Eliade, Jean-Luc Nancy, Alain Badiou, Giorgio Agamben, and Slavoj Žižek, she shows how Pasolini’s meditation on the disappearance of the sacred in our times and its return as a haunting revenant, a threatening disruption of capitalist society, foreshadows current debates on the status of the sacred in our postmodern world.
1. The Sense of the Sacred
2. The Passion and the Incarnation: Ricotta and The Gospel According to Matthew
3. The Words of the Flesh: Blasphemy
4. The Mad Saint and the Anchorite: Theorem
5. The Franciscan Model
6. The Pauline Model
‘This is a thorough study of the true intellectual Pasolini.’Choice Magazine vol 53:09:2016
‘Benini succeeds in carving out an innovative space for interpretation, so that her work is an interesting addition to the huge bulk of Pasolini criticism. Furthermore, her work can benefit those who are interested in ‘‘meeting’’ the ‘‘organic intellectual’’ Pasolini, an agent of Italian cultural history for over fifty years.’
Carla Locatelli, Forum Italicum vol 5:01:2017
‘Benini’s book is a tour de force to be lauded and a must read for any Pasolini scholar.’Daniela Bini, Annali D’Italianistica vol 35:2016
‘Benini succeeds in carving out an innovative space for interpretation, so that her work is an interesting addition to the huge bulk of Pasolini criticism.’Carla Locatelli, Forum Italicum, vol 51:03:2017
"For those familiar with the film criticism on Pasolini, Sacred Flesh makes a major contribution to an understanding of the artist's thought and intentions in making these films. It is a contribution that arises from highly developed Italian research and debates."
Bart Testa, University of Toronto Quarterly, vol. 86, n. 3, Summer 2017
"Organizing her own discourse around specific typological crystallizations in Pasolini’s work, Beninini’s analysis is scrupulously respectful of Pasolini’s words and intentions, even those which are most clearly contradictory. The construction of the argument is careful and precise and draws on well-known sources but also material which has not been published in English."Pierpaolo Antonello, Italian Studies
“A welcome addition to Pasolini scholarship, film studies, and theology, Benini’s book may well be the ultimate scholarly work on the sacred in Pasolini’s work.”Maurizio Viano, Department of Cinema and Media Studies, Wellesley College