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The red and the blue - the depiction of the italian partisan resistance in fenoglio il 'partigiano johnny'

Cooke, P.E. (1996) The red and the blue - the depiction of the italian partisan resistance in fenoglio il 'partigiano johnny'. Modern Language Review, 91 (2). pp. 365-381.

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Abstract

This article is one of a series in which I seek to argue that Beppe Fenoglio's most famous work, published posthumously as Il partigiano johnny,is more dependent on and informative of its historical context than is commonly accepted by literary critics. As I have suggested elsewhere,2 the book is not a work that transcends history, but is a kind of fictional memoir, or rather, a fictive autobiography, built around the dialogic relationship between Fenoglio andJohnny.3 In the text, as with other examples of this genre of writing,4 this relationship means that the point of view and 'voice' of the narrator Fenoglio, who recounts events from a I950s perspective, is blended with the point of view and 'voice' of his 1940s protagonist/ focalizer, Johnny. The impression given is that there are two narrators, one 'internal' (Johnny) and the other 'external' (Fenoglio). This stereo system, which I describe with the phrase 'Fenoglio's binoculars, Johnny's eyes', leads to a kind of dual perspective, an awareness of which is crucial to an historical interpretation of the text.