Naples and the Nation in Cultural Representations of the Allied Occupation

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This article addresses Italian cultural representations of the Allied Occupation of Naples, with reference to their understanding of the relationship between the city and the Italian nation-state. The analysis focuses on two texts which, despite enjoying notable prominence and influence, are rarely considered together: Eduardo De Filippo’s Napoli milionaria! (1945) and Curzio Malaparte’s La pelle (1949). Deploying a psychoanalytical frame of reference and paying close attention to the gendering of discourses relating to Naples and Italy, it is argued that where La pelle gives symptomatic expression to the conditions of the Occupation, underlining the exceptionality of the Neapolitan experience with respect to the national post-war narrative, Napoli milionaria! instead seeks overtly to heal the psychological wounds of the Occupation by aligning the conditions in Naples with those experienced in the center-north of the country. The article closes with the proposition that the different approaches taken to the relationship between Naples and the Italian nation-state are key to the radically divergent reception of the texts in Naples.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages27
JournalCalifornia Italian Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Naples and the Nation
  • Allied Occupation
  • Malaparte's La pelle
  • De Filippo's Napoli milionaria!
  • psychoananalysis
  • gendering of discourse


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