Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Italian studies, pulp literature, cannibali, gioventù cannibale, impegno, postmodern impegno, abject, grotesque realism, italian film, cinematic adaptation

Major Advisor

Philip Balma

Associate Advisor

Gustavo Nanclares

Associate Advisor

Andrea Celli

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Campus Access


With the blooming of a new narrative form in the nineties and the publication of several anthologies of pulp short stories, this genre became an object of discussion for critics. The term “Italian pulp literature” refers to the literary trend that emerged in Italy in the early 1990s and whose popularity was established with the publication of the anthology Gioventù Cannibale, edited by Daniele Brolli in Einaudi’s Stile Libero series in 1996. Some of the principal writers of the pulp genre are Niccolò Ammaniti, Aldo Nove, Simona Vinci, and Isabella Santacroce.

This study’s main focus is to reevaluate Italian pulp literature of the nineties. After tracing its origins, this study aims to recognize the elements of social engagement in fours authors and one director. Specifically, the first chapter of this study examines the literary path that brought to the creation of the anthology trend of this time and the role that they had in establishing the popularity of this “genre” in Italy and in serving as a formal acknowledgment of the mutual convergence of themes and styles that these various artists shared. The second chapter looks at Niccolò Ammaniti’s Fango and Aldo Nove’s Woobinda and Superwoobinda’s use of elements from Italian contemporary society and a grotesque filter to expose social and political issues and addresses the cinematic approach to this new literature with film adaptations of Il Branco and L’ultimo Capodanno dell’umanità by director Marco Risi, who, I argue, shares the same intent of social engagement of this group of writers. The third chapter analyzes Santacroce’s Trilogia dello spavento and Vinci’s In tutti i sensi come l’amore for their use of the abject body to denounce the violence and malaise of contemporary society.

Available for download on Saturday, June 08, 2030