'Saló' or The 120 Days of Sodom, 1975

To Give Birth According to Sade and Pasolini's Saló

Lecture by Armando Maggi, Professor of Italian Literature and the Committee on the History of Culture
Thursday, November 19, 2009 - 7:00pm

Professor Maggi’s talk will be a close reading of two crucial scenes from Pasolini's notorious film ‘Salo' or The 120 Days of Sodom. Although Sade's novel is almost 700 pages long, critics have paid scant attention to Pasolini's complex strategy of interpretation and conflation of disparate moments from the Sadian text. Maggi will show how Pasolini appropriates the Sadian obsession with Nature and Motherhood, which are the libertine's two fiercest enemies, through an astute interpretation of Constance, the most important female character of Sade's novel.

Armando Maggi is professor in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Chicago. He is the author of several books, including, most recently The Resurrection of the Body, an original and compelling interpretation of Pasolini’s final works: the screenplay Saint Paul, the scenario for Porn-Theo-Colossal, the immense and unfinished novel Petrolio, and his notorious final film, Salò or the 120 Days of Sodom, a disturbing adaptation of the writings of the Marquis de Sade. His other books include In the Company of Demons: Unnatural Beings, Love, and Identity in the Italian Renaissance and the co-edited volume Petrarch: A Critical Guide to the Complete Works (both published by the University of Chicago Press).