The Representation of Place and Space in Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Roman Prose 1950-1959

  • Darragh P Mulcahy

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


This thesis seeks to explore the ecological undercurrents of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Roman prose through a close textual reading of his short stories, essays, and two novels. These works, written in and about Rome from 1950 to 1959, include Pasolini’s early short stories (1950-51), his first and second novels, Ragazzi di vita (1955) and Una vita violenta (1959) and his Roman essays published in Alì dagli occhi azzurri (1965).
The thesis moves from the premise that Pasolini is an inherently ecological writer and that ecological themes are a concern in his Roman corpus which have not been sufficiently investigated to date. My analysis is centred on a series of chronotopes which investigate the narrative paradigms at the foundation of his Roman prose. In more specific terms, my thesis is divided into five chapters which look at a range of themes including: Pasolini’s use of place names; his mapping of his version of the city; the role, the importance, the meaning and agency of bodies, dirt and water in his prose.
Drawing on the recent work of contemporary material ecocritics like Serenella Iovino, Serpill Oppermann and Stacy Alaimo and putting them into conversation with some of the seminal works of Walter Benjamin, Michel De Certeau, Mary Douglas and Julia Kristeva the thesis seeks to develop new readings of the environmental imagination of Pasolini.
The thesis suggests that the ecologies which emerge through a close examination of Pasolini’s prose are not merely different shades of green but are diverse and multicolored: blue, brown, and green. This study, therefore, sets out to expand the conceptual apparatus of an existing body of critical scholarship on Pasolini’s Roman prose by engaging with a multi-disciplinary, eco-theoretical framework to provide a new reading of his work through an eco-critical lens.
Date of Award25 Sep 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorRuth S Glynn (Supervisor) & Catherine G O'Rawe (Supervisor)

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