Theatrical Works of Giovacchino Forzano - Drama for Mussolini’s Italy

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This monograph is the first major study of Giovacchino Forzano’s theatrical works in either English or Italian. Forzano’s success as a writer and practitioner working in the popular theater in Italy has usually been ascribed to his well-known artistic relationship with Mussolini, but this study goes beyond that. By a detailed analysis of his major plays and contemporary reactions to them, the study shows how Forzano was able successfully to reflect the interests and concerns of contemporary, largely middle-class audiences. It show how he was able to exploit his skills as a dramatist to articulate and exploit contemporary emotions, the study includes the annotated text of a play, Racconti d’autunno, d’inverno e primavera (1937), here published for the first time. It is an interesting example of propagandistic drama whose aim was to celebrate the triumphs of the fascist regime.


"A thorough and consistently readable account, the first monograph on Forzano to appear in English. Drawing extensively on archives, correspondence, and contemporary newspapers, and providing detailed analysis of the most significant of Forzanos works, Griffiths skillfully situates the authors voluminous output in the cultural context of Fascist Italy, identifying its major thematic preoccupations and showing that both its composition and its reception were much more complex affairs than the understandably dismissive postwar critical consensus would imply. . . . Forzano emerges from this lucid and well-argued discussion as a figure of considerably interest in 20th-century Italian cultural history. . . " - CHOICE

Clive Griffithss thorough research provides a fascinating account of theatre during the Ventennio. We can chart the changing approach to censorship&. We also see Forzano as a director&. Griffiths carefully traces Forzanos relationship with the regime (he joined the party in 1933) and links his theatrical work to contemporary events&. If I have any quibble with this most enjoyable book, it is because I am greedy for more.  Italian Studies

Forzano  as Griffiths convinces us  is central to our understanding of the role and fortunes of the performing arts in fascist times, and this study goes a long way to showing us just how and why. . . . . Griffiths has rescued and published as an appendix, one of Forzanos more intellectually engaging plays, Racconti dautunno, dinverno e primavera , thereby making available a drama which was genuinely fascist in its sentiments, collective emotions and desire to present socially exemplary heroic figures and their heroic actions on stage. This study should contribute significantly to the enlightenment of students of history and of theatre in the Fascist Era in Italy.  Doug Thompson

It is an extremely well-balanced and thoroughly-researched work which discusses in detail the actual facts about Forzanos collaboration with Mussolini, provides valuable information about the critical reception of his work at the time, is able to account for Forzanos popularity and at the same time provide his own assessment of the quality of Forzanos works as a dramatist.  Gino Bedani

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:
Preface; Introduction
1. The struggle for acceptance as a dramatist
2. Il conte de Bréchard and the plays of the French Revolution
3. Costume drama and contemporary plays
4. Work as a director: La figlia di lorio
5. The history of a collaboration: A fateful encounter (July 1929); Campo di Maggio; Villafranca
6. A return to drama: Racconti d’autunno, d’inverno e primavera
7. A hollow triumph: Cesare
Appendices: The Works of Giovacchino Forzano; Racconti d’autunno, d’inverno e primavera by Giovacchino Forzano
Bibliography; Index

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