BOOK DATA: Charles L. Leavitt IV, Italian Neorealism: A Cultural History. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2020. $85.00 cloth. xi + 313 pages.

Neorealism is the most well-trodden field in Italian film history, so to say something really new about it is no mean feat. Charles Leavitt’s book, the result of painstaking original research (seventy pages of endnotes, fifty of bibliography with around one thousand items), changes a widely accepted view of when the term neorealism entered critical discourse and proposes a different way of looking at it. Neorealism, he argues in the introduction, should be understood not so much as a particular set of works in various artistic fields but as a “cultural conversation,” a lively exchange of ideas and values between critics and practitioners of those arts, which began much earlier than is normally believed (7).

Chapter 1 traces the start of this “conversation” as far back...

You do not currently have access to this content.