The Schmooze

Alberto Moravia's Artistic Activism

Art is its own form of activism, we are reminded by a major new biography of the Italian novelist Alberto Moravia, published by les éditions Flammarion in Paris. Born Alberto Pincherle (his father was a Jewish architect) in 1907, Moravia was a cousin of Carlo and Nello Rosselli, the Jewish anti-fascist activists who were murdered in 1937 by French right wing extremists on Mussolini’s orders, as described in “Carlo Rosselli: Socialist Heretic and Antifascist Exile” by Stanislao Pugliese.

Moravia’s activism was expressed in novels like “The Conformist,” (1951) which explores how educated and cultured Europeans can be so morally paralyzed as to allow events like the Rosselli murders to occur. His first novel, “The Time of Indifference,” (1929) already scorned the suffocating stasis of Italian bourgeois life during the early years of Mussolini’s reign.

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Alberto Moravia's Artistic Activism

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