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Law and disorder: Antonio Tabucchi's investigative fictions

The Department of Italian are hosting a seminar entitled "Law and disorder: Antonio Tabucchi's investigative fictions" from 5:15pm onwards on Wednesday 20 January in room H4.03, Humanities Building. Leading the seminar will be Dr Rita Wilson (Italian Studies, Monash University).

The event is free of charge and all are welcome to attend. To register please contact Dr Annunziata Videtta: Refreshments will be provided.

"Law and disorder: Antonio Tabucchi's investigative fictions"

Italian fiction in the last two decades has been characterised by an increasing interest of both publishing houses and readers in detective fiction. Broadly speaking, since Mondadori first launched its serie gialla in 1929, the genre in Italy has attracted two types of writers. One group consists of the more traditional, mass-market crime fiction writers whose stories are usually set in distinctive regions of Italy. The second is the so-called 'literary' group, which includes writers like Umberto Eco and Antonio Tabucchi, who use the genre to create an 'anti-detective' or postmodern novel which rejects the expected outcome of restored order found in most crime fiction.

In these novels the detectives are imperfect, the crimes often remain unsolved and clear distinctions between good and evil are put into doubt, thus giving priority to ontological and ethical questions. An excellent example of this type of fiction is provided by La testa perduta di Damasceno Monteiro (1997, The Missing Head of Damasceno Monteiro) by Antonio Tabucchi, in which the motif of crime serves to raise issues of justice, politics and morality.

This presentation will analyse the novel's intricate themes, self-reflexivity and intertextuality as a means to engage with the broader question of how Tabucchi's narratives engage with the forces – geographical, historical, social and philosophical - which shape identity.

Further information on Dr Rita Wilson can be found at:

Further information on forthcoming research events in the Department of Italian can be found at: