The Conformist

The Conformist

Language: English

Pages: 336

ISBN: 1883642655

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


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; his life is torn open - and with it the corrupt heart of Fascism. Moravia equates the rise of Italian Fascism with the psychological needs of his protagonist for whom conformity becomes an obsession in a life that has included parental neglect, an oddly self-conscious desire to engage in cruel acts, and a type of male beauty which, to Clerici's great distress, other men find attractive.

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peaceful, wise faces very like their father’s. “They live in the village with their mother,” said the agent, taking back the photograph Marcello held out to him. “The oldest is already working as a seamstress.” “They’re beautiful and they look like you,” said Marcello. “Thank you, dottore … once again, dottore.” The agent stepped to one side to let Giulia by, then disappeared. Giulia came up to Marcello and said immediately, “I was passing by and I thought I’d drop in and visit. How are you?”

through the packed streets of the center of town. In the faint penumbra of the antiaircraft blackout, they could distinctly see the movements of the crowd, its many ways of gathering, colliding, spreading, and running — all different, but all pervaded and united by a single, sincere exultation at the dictatorship’s collapse. People who didn’t know each other hugged in the middle of the street; a man who had watched the passage of a flag-waving truck in speechless attention for a long time

avenue planted with plane trees from which, by way of a cross street, he could arrive at his own house. He knew that the dead leaves in that avenue were piled up in the thousands on the sidewalks, yellow and crackling, and he was looking forward to dragging his feet through the piles, kicking them around and making them rustle. Meanwhile, almost in fun, he was trying to shake off his followers, now slipping into a doorway, now losing himself in the crowd. But the five boys, as he soon realized

have thought of it earlier and attributed this forgetfulness to the obvious and pacific nature of the religion into which he had been born and to which he had always felt he belonged, even without practicing it. He said, however, curious to hear what Giulia would respond, “But I’m not a believer.” “So who is,” she replied calmly. “Ninety percent of the people who go to church — do you think they believe? And the priests themselves?” “But do you believe?” Giulia made a gesture with her hand in

And he concluded something fundamental right away: his presence and participation in Paris were not at all necessary for the elimination of Quadri; agent Orlando could find and identify his victim very well by himself. In reality, he thought, they only wanted to involve him, even if it wasn’t really necessary, compromising him completely once and forever. As far as the change in plan was concerned, he did not doubt that it was only apparent. Surely, at the time of his visit to the minister, the

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