It is with great pleasure that the Italian Studies Library Group has announced that it will resume its series of annual lectures with a lecture at the Italian Cultural Institute on 10 March. The subject will be Claudio Pavone (1920-2016), an influential historian of the Italian Resistance. It was Pavone’s seminal study Una guerra civile, published by Bollati Boringhieri in 1991 (539:1.c.737.41), that changed the way Italian historians saw the Resistance against Fascism between 1943 and 1945. Until his work appeared, referring to the Resistance struggle in northern Italy as a ‘civil war’ was, if anything, seen as a sign of far-right sympathies and nostalgia for the days of Mussolini. In some ways, also, that interpretation of the struggle was an unwelcome reminder of the level of support Fascism had enjoyed among Italians.
Pavone’s case was strengthened by the fact that his own anti-fascist background was beyond question. He joined the partisans in 1943, but was then captured and imprisoned for a while. On regaining his liberty, he moved to Milan and there continued the fight against the Nazi puppet regime based at Salò, often at considerable personal risk – as he recalled in his memoir, La mia Resistenza (C206.d.9827), which appeared in 2015, shortly before his death. His sense of the crucial importance of the Resistance years is also apparent in the collection of articles that he published in 1995 as Alle origini della Repubblica (9003.d.3706), an account and analysis of the period from the overthrow of Mussolini to the foundation of the modern Italian Republic.
Pavone’s Una guerra civile was published in English as A Civil War: a History of the Italian Resistance, translated by Peter Levy (Verso, 2013, 539:1.c.737.112).
Philip Cooke, Professor of Italian History and Culture at the University of Strathclyde, will be giving his lecture on ‘Claudio Pavone and the Historian’s Craft’ at the Italian Cultural Institute in Belgrave Square on 10 March 2022 at 6.30pm. Attendance is free, but registration is required.