The Conformist

The Conformist

A Novel

Paperback - 1999
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Secrecy and Silence are second nature to Marcello Clerici, the hero of The Conformist, a book which made Alberto Moravia one of the world's most read postwar writers. Clerici is a man with everything under control - a wife who loves him, colleagues who respect him, the hidden power that comes with his secret work for the Italian political police during the Mussolini years. But then he is assigned to kill his former professor, now in exile, to demonstrate his loyalty to the Fascist state, and falls in love with a strange, compelling woman.
Publisher: South Royalton, Vt. : Steerforth Press, 1999.
ISBN: 9781883642655
Characteristics: 324 p.; 22 cm.
Additional Contributors: Calliope, Tami


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Oct 28, 2014

"What he needed was the complete success of that government, that society, that nation; and not only an outer, but also an intimate and crucial success. Only in this way could what was normally considered a common crime become, instead, a positive step in a necessary direction. In other words, thanks to forces that did not depend on him, a complete transmutation of values must take place: injustice must become justice; betrayal, heroism; death, life."
Like many people, I learned of this novel from Bernardo Bertolucci's excellent film version from 1970. Released in 1951, this is perhaps the definitive dissection of the Fascist mentality; a portrait of a cipher of a man, who looks to the state for meaning, if it means betraying his former teacher. Moravia also wrote "Contempt," which was filmed by Jean-Luc Godard."


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