Memory, perception, reception: following the fate of the victims of Italy's anni di piombo through the writing of their children

Ryder, Emily Jennifer Hana (2015) Memory, perception, reception: following the fate of the victims of Italy's anni di piombo through the writing of their children. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis considers some of those who were killed in politically-motivated attacks, often referred to as ‘terrorism’, which took place during Italy’s anni di piombo. Six works written by victims’ children will be used as a lens through which to examine the collective memory and the victims’ place therein. In recent years, there has been a shift in the way that this period of Italian history - the anni di piombo – has been remembered. Where previously the perpetrators of the violence of those years dominated public discourse, in the last decade the principal narrative has become more victim-centred. The biographical works written by victims’ children have inevitably contributed to this change in the memory narrative. The techniques employed in their writing in order to change the existing public image of their fathers will be analysed in this thesis, along with certain themes that recur throughout the six works and broader victim-centred discussion of this period. Analysis begins with a thorough outline of the political and historical context of the anni di piombo, including case studies of two of the most famous victims of this period and a consideration of the written works of some of the former terrorists. Following this preliminary contextualisation, each of the six books and their authors will be studied in detail to provide a foundation for the analysis contained in the final three chapters. The themes examined in the second half of the thesis are second-generation writing, forgiveness and commemoration. Using these themes as a framework, a rigorous investigation of the place that the victims hold in collective memory; the role their children’s writing has played in shaping and maintaining their public image and the longer-term impact that these changes can be seen to have had within a broader societal and political perspective is undertaken. On the basis of this study, it is evident that the victims’ place in the collective memory of the anni di piombo has changed dramatically since that period of violence concluded. The victims’ children have been very significant in enacting this change and their writing has placed them in a position from which they can continue to exert influence and promote a victim-centred approach to history.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Years of lead, Italy, terrorism, victims, postmemory, postmemoir, memory, second-generation memory, trauma
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D901 Europe (General)
D History General and Old World > DG Italy
P Language and Literature > PB Modern European Languages
P Language and Literature > PQ Romance literatures
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > Italian
Supervisor's Name: Morris, Doctor Penny and Bracke, Doctor Maud
Date of Award: 2015
Depositing User: Doctor Emily Jennifer Hana Ryder
Unique ID: glathesis:2015-7056
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2016 16:28
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2016 14:39

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