Bewitched by fascism? discusses two works published in 2010 that were favourites in the most prestigious Italian literary prize, the Premio Strega: Canale Mussolini (Mussolini Canal) by Antonio Pennacchi (which won the prize), and Accanto alla tigre (Close to the Tiger) by Lorenzo Pavolini. The former evokes, through family memory, the drainage of the Pontine marshes (Lazio), carried out in the 1930s; the latter the painful discovery that his grandfather, Alessandro Pavolini, had been a ferocious leader in the fascist Salò Republic. But their approaches to the past are very different: Pennachi presents his memory as history, whereas Pavolini successfully distinguishes between the two levels. The success of the two novels seems to confirm what has become a softened, albeit less ideological, vision of fascism.
Keywords: Fascismo, premi letterari, memoria, storia, letteratura