Autobiography of a Generation: Italy, 1968 by Luisa Passerini, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Autobiography of a Generation: Italy, 1968

Autobiography of a Generation: Italy, 1968

by Luisa Passerini
     
 
This extraordinary book, first published in Italy in 1988 as Autoritratto di gruppo, documents the intricate web of individual and communal experiences in the political movements of the '60's.

Overview

This extraordinary book, first published in Italy in 1988 as Autoritratto di gruppo, documents the intricate web of individual and communal experiences in the political movements of the '60's.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
With a surprisingly fluid mix of autobiography and interviews, Passerini studies both Italy's 1968 student uprisings and her own psyche. Chapters alternate between sections from Passerini's journals (organized roughly by month) and bits from interviews with former student radicals. While the final pastiche has some holes, it is an interesting juxtaposition of the personal and the political, further helped by a clear, uncluttered translation. Passerini's journal concentrates greatly on a failed love affair and her continuing psychoanalysis, but her occasional obliqueness (e.g., the reader is never completely informed about the affair) prevents the appearance of self-indulgence. Passerini is as forthright and insightful about herself as she is about others: at one point, she even details her adherence to a Steiner purification diet that involved a "negation of heritage"that is, relinquishing wine, coffee, milk and meat. The interviews are more distinctly "historical" but also incorporate some biographical information. Passerini tends to interpret the interviews with a feminist perspective and also notes that the 1968 movement excluded women from its leadership while encouraging a sort of homoerotic cult around its charismatic male leaders. The former radicals are particularly revealing when commenting on their families. Many recall their mothers as having little to say about politics and their fathers as left-wingers who toed the party line but avoided personal involvement. "A Communist father is delighted for his daughter to preach free love, but can't stand for her to practice it."(Oct.)
From the Publisher
“. . . a surprisingly fluid mix of autobiography and interviews. . . . an interesting juxtaposition of the personal and the political, further helped by a clear, uncluttered translation.”—Publishers Weekly

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780819552860
Publisher:
Wesleyan University Press
Publication date:
10/25/1996
Edition description:
Trans. from the Italian
Pages:
182
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.84(d)

What People are saying about this

Graziella Parati
“In this highly engaging book, Passerini translates her theoretical work in oral history into practice. The story of her life—from psychotherapy, unhappy relationships, and an abortion, to her involvement in left wing protests and feminist consciousness-raising groups—is presented in fragments that invite the reader to personalize her theoretical approach to autobiographical writing and to continue her discussion of the construction of women’s representations of their public and private identities.”
Juliet Mitchell
“An exemplary instance of how the personal is the political; the individual who used her dreams to change her life, a part of the collective in history which attempted to turn dreams to action in 1968. Passerini's interweaving of documentary evidence and personal reflection is simultaneously both rigorous and lyrical -qualities that come through in this translation. An important book for the history it recounts and its unique way of arriving at it.”
Grace Paley
"This book is about the void of power, decisions for violence, opposition, the excitement of feminism . . . The defining years are '68 and '77. Luisa Passerini and colleagues interview about 60 women and men, some in prison, some lost to political life, some awash in it. This is a remarkable book. It's about Italy but could be about us. We in the United States ought to have such a book. It would be an explanation."

Meet the Author

LUISA PASSERINI is Professor of History at the European University in Florence, author of many books, including Fascism in Popular Memory (1987), and editor of Memory and Totalitarianism (1992). JOAN WALLACH SCOTT is Professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. She is author of Gender and the Politics of History (1988) and co-editor of Feminists Theorize the Political (1992). LISA ERDBERG has taught Italian at the University of California at Berkeley and at the Museo ItaloAmericano in San Francisco.

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