Stories from the City of God: Sketches and Chronicles of Rome, 1950-1966

Stories from the City of God: Sketches and Chronicles of Rome, 1950-1966

by Pier Paolo Pasolini
     
 

Stories From the City of God collects legendary filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini's short fiction and nonfiction from 1950 to 1966. In these pieces, we see the machinations of the creative mind in consideration of the character of Rome after World War II.

Presenting a portrait of the city that is at once poignant and intimate, as honest as if it were the

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Overview

Stories From the City of God collects legendary filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini's short fiction and nonfiction from 1950 to 1966. In these pieces, we see the machinations of the creative mind in consideration of the character of Rome after World War II.

Presenting a portrait of the city that is at once poignant and intimate, as honest as if it were the author's journal, we find here artistic witness to the customs, dialect, squalor, and beauty of the ancient imperial capital that has succumbed to modern warfare, marginalization, and mass culture.

The sketches portray the impoverished masses that he calls "the sub-proletariat", those who live under Third World conditions and for whom simple pleasures, such as a blue sweater in a storefront window, are completely out of reach. In the chronicles, Pasolini faithfully renders life in Rome in the infinite stretches of public housing on the periphery of the city.

Pasolini's art develops throughout the works collected here, from his early lyricism to tragicomic outlines for screenplays, and finally to the maturation of his Neo-realism in eight chronicles on the shantytowns of Rome. The pieces in this collection were all published in Italian journals and newspapapers, and then later edited by Walter Siti in the original Italian edition. Marina Harss of The New Yorker has translated the work for its first publication in English by Other Press.

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Editorial Reviews

The New Yorker
Pasolini should be better known in English as a writer—as a poet, novelist, and journalist—and this volume provides a good introduction. It’s a collection of short pieces written between 1950, when Pasolini arrived in Rome, “the city of God,” from his native Friuli, and 1966, and published mainly in newspapers and periodicals. The first half of the book is a stroll through lowlife Rome—the ragazzi (street boys) selling chestnuts on the Ponte Garibaldi, or diving off a float in the Tiber, or stealing fish from the city market to sell in Testaccio. The pieces in the second half range from commentary on Roman slang and on housing for the poor to an account of a day spent with Alberto Moravia. Throughout, the main character is the city, where “beauty and ugliness go hand in hand”: “The latter renders the former touching and human. The former allows us to forget the latter.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590510483
Publisher:
Other Press, LLC
Publication date:
10/28/2003
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.75(h) x 1.05(d)

What People are saying about this

Martin Scorsese
“It’s an enriching experience to read through this collection and feel Pasolini passionately responding to the city, the culture, the people, and the country he knew like he knew his own skin. His voice is like no one else’s – immediate yet grounded in a brilliant and completely individual perspective, and lyrical but never blindly romantic. In every single one of these pieces you feel his heroic modern sensibility taking hold, looking misery and cruelty in the eye without flinching, but also celebrating the best in people. The stories gave me a shock of recognition, because they allowed me to see the land where my family came from as I’d never seen it before. To paraphrase Godard on Chaplin, these essays, reports, sketches, and stories are the work of a free man.”

Meet the Author

Pier Paolo Pasolini

Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922-1975) was the internationally acclaimed writer, poet, critic, actor, director, and filmmaker. Among his most noted films are his epic masterpiece Accatone!, The Gospel According to St. Matthew, Teorema, and Marquis de Sade. He was the author of several novels, most notably The Ragazzi (Ragazzi di vita), as well as books of short stories, essays, and collections of poetry.

Walter Siti

Walter Siti is a professor of contemporary Italian Literature at the University of Aquila. He has published two volumes of literary criticism, two novels and numerous reviews of Italian poetry. He is the original editor of this work in Italian.

Marina Harss

Marina Harss translations include For Solo Violin (Per Vionlino Solo), a war memoir by Aldo Zargani, and stories in The Forbidden Stories of Marta Veneranda, by Sonia Rivera-Vald. Her translations have also appeared in Bomb, Brooklyn Rail, and Autadafe. She is a researcher at The New Yorker, and lives in New York City.

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