The Neapolitan novels by Elena Ferrante tell a universal story of friendship, love, rivalry and violence against the background of a poor neighbourhood of the southern Italian city of Naples. Yet the narrative also takes in the wider history of the country, spanning several decades marked by momentous socio-economic and political transformations.
In this talk, Anna Cento Bull retraces the history of Italy from the post-war reconstruction and hardships of the 1940s to the economic boom of the late 1950s and 1960s, and from the political protests and conflict of the 1970s and 1980s to the dissolution of the so-called First Republic in the early 1990s and beyond. Anna Cento Bull lived in Naples from 1963 to 1975, attending a state school at a similar time to the two protagonists in the novels and will draw on some personal memories of the city.
Anna Cento Bull is Professor of Italian History and Politics at the University of Bath. She has written widely on various aspects of contemporary Italian society, including the socio-economic transformations of the 1950s and 60s and the political violence of the 1970s. Her most recent book is Modern Italy: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2016).
Tickets £9 (£6 concessions)
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