Pasolini: Forms of Subjectivity

Pasolini: Forms of Subjectivity

Pasolini: Forms of Subjectivity

Pasolini: Forms of Subjectivity

Synopsis

Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922-1975) was one of the most complex and challenging intellectual figures in post-war Italy. This book analyzes his intensely charged, experimental essays, poetry, cinema, and narrative, and their shifting perspectives of subjectivity.

Excerpt

I write this preface just days before the twentieth anniversary of Pasolini's death on 2 November 1975, and as one would expect of a figure already so persecuted and lionized in the course of his lifetime, let alone since, his presence is still an uncannily vivid one in Italy's current and seemingly permanent state of crisis. To give only two examples, Marco Tullio Giordana book and film Pasolini. Un delitto italiano (Giordana, 1994) has reopened the many unanswered questions surrounding his murder, whilst the 'statesman' Giulio Andreotti, before standing trial for collusion with the mafia, has reiterated as if in expiation of an unnamed guilt that 'Pasolini aveva ragione', Pasolini was right in his analysis of the decline of the Christian Democratic (DC) party in the mid-1970s. Andreotti's claim is all the more remarkable since Pasolini was almost certainly not right: indeed he very rarely was, in the conventional sense at least, and therein lies a great deal of his fascination.

Striking and highly charged responses to Pasolini of this kind have been an important catalyst to my work on this book, which has in a sense been measured out in public attempts at appropriation of his name: since 1988 he has been touted as a neo-fascist by the msi (Movimento sociale italiano), a separatist by the Lega Nord, and a privileged posthumous authority on everything from the 'strategia della tensione' to 'Gladio' and 'Tangentopoli'. It struck me early on, however, that these apparently appropriative responses were in fact deeply conditioned and distorted by his own rhetoric. Some quality of his presence infiltrated and modulated their idiom and their impact. I began to realize that even the most sober and serious critical work on Pasolini was guilty to some degree of these distortions, and, what is more, that it could not be otherwise since his work refused to become a vessel of innocent or authentic sets of meanings. Little surprise that the most incisive and rewarding account of his written work at least remains the raw, cumulative dialogue with Franco Fortini (now collected in Fortini, 1993). Pasolini's actions and texts impinge upon, condition and circumscribe the hermeneutic potential they create. They emanate a sort of centripetal force of gravity which draws in and distorts dependent discourses . . .

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