© 2016

Neorealism and the "New" Italy

Compassion in the Development of Italian Identity


Part of the Italian and Italian American Studies book series (IIAS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Simonetta Milli Konewko
    Pages 1-7
  3. Neorealism: What Is and Is Not

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 9-12
    2. Simonetta Milli Konewko
      Pages 13-21
    3. Simonetta Milli Konewko
      Pages 23-35
    4. Simonetta Milli Konewko
      Pages 37-46
    5. Simonetta Milli Konewko
      Pages 47-54
  4. Compassion: What Is and Is Not

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 55-56
    2. Simonetta Milli Konewko
      Pages 57-63
    3. Simonetta Milli Konewko
      Pages 65-70
    4. Simonetta Milli Konewko
      Pages 71-75
    5. Simonetta Milli Konewko
      Pages 77-85
    6. Simonetta Milli Konewko
      Pages 87-110
  5. Charting Landscapes of Compassion During World War II

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 111-115
    2. Simonetta Milli Konewko
      Pages 133-157
  6. Compassion and the Holocaust

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 201-203
    2. Simonetta Milli Konewko
      Pages 205-224

About this book


Neorealism and the "New" Italy centers on neorealist Italian artists' use of compassion as a vehicle to express their characters' interactions. Simonetta Milli Konewko proposes that compassion as an emotion may be activated to unify certain individuals and communities and investigates the mechanisms that allowed compassion to operate during the postwar period. Aiming to produce a deeper understanding of the ways in which Italy is re-encoded and reconstructed, this book explores the formation of Italian identity and redefines neorealism as a topic of investigation.


Neorealism Italian 20th century literature Theories of compassion Italian film Holocaust

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of Wisconsin MilwaukeeMilwaukeeUSA

About the authors

Simonetta Milli Konewko is Associate Professor in the Department of French, Italian and Comparative Languages at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, USA. Her articles have appeared in Forum Italicum, Rivista di Studi Italiani, Holocaust and Modernity, Sinestesie, Journal of Literature and Art Studies, and Athens Journal of Humanities & Art.    

Bibliographic information


“A compelling portrait of the role of compassion and its importance for the crucial experience of neorealism in Italy. Examining literary and film masterpieces of the post-war period, the author sheds new light on the personal and social ‘anguish’ experienced by Italians as they sought to reestablish the foundations of a national identity. The result is a discerning analysis of the interplay between emotion and response.” (Daria Valentini, Professor and Director of Italian Studies, Stonehill College, USA)

“Milli Konewko re-examines the role of compassion in neorealist literature and film, which has often been treated as a given, illuminating the ambiguous and political role of compassion in postwar Italian literature and film.” (Carol Lazzaro-Weis, Catherine Paine Middlebush Professor of French and Italian, University of Missouri, USA)

“Milli Konewko revisits the critical tenets that regulate our current understanding of neorealism to show how compassion and lack of compassion define the protagonists of postwar Italian art in their attitude with respect to their relatives, friends, and society in general.” (Stefania Lucamante, Ordinary Professor of Italian and Comparative Literature, The Catholic University of America, USA)