Chapter 8 Mary Vitali “fidanzata dei morti”: An Investigation into the Genre of Grief Memoirs in Gabriele d’Annunzio’s Fiume

In: Grief, Identity, and the Arts
Carlo Leo
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This contribution offers a critical overview of the novel La fidanzata dei morti (1926), an example of grief memoir written by author Mary Vitali on the substance of trauma resulting from the collapse of a value system that inspired an entire generation in post-war Italy, identified in the “myth of national regeneration” by Emilio Gentile. Vitali explores her grief in the aftermath of what came to be known as Natale di sangue (“Bloody Christmas”), a five-day battle over the city of Fiume (now Rijeka, Croatia) opposing Gabriele d’Annunzio’s legionnaires who had captured the city in violation of orders from the Italian Government and the Italian Regular Army, following the Treaty of Rapallo (1920) between the Kingdom of Italy and Yugoslavia to settle disputes overs territories in the northern Adriatic. The possibility of a literary investigation into the role of women in shaping the cultural memory of Fiume brings to light a submerged discourse, overlooked by conventional historiography. Men and women of letters, as agents of cultural change in the space of social imaginaries, contributed to the mythogenesis of D’Annunzio’s Fiume venture with literary accounts and testimonies. Their role is crucial in shaping the public memory of the occupation.

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Grief, Identity, and the Arts

A Multidisciplinary Perspective on Expressions of Grief

Series:  Death in History, Culture, and Society, Volume: 1


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