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Pier Paolo Pasolini


Pier Paolo Pasolini is best known for his brilliant films and for his decidedly unpleasant death. Before becoming a film-maker, however, he was both an accomplished poet and an accomplished novelist, and had written much journalism, about literature, film and politics. While there is no question that his films are what he will be remembered for and are still very much worth watching, his prose work still remains interesting.

He was born in Bologna in 1922. His father was an infantry lieutenant in the army and his mother was a teacher. Because of his father’s military career, the family frequently moved. However, by the time he was seventeen, the family was back in Bologna and Pasolini went to the University of Bologna. He had started writing poetry as a child but now started to write some poems in Friulian (his mother was from that region). Though he initially flirted with organisations sympathetic to Fascism he soon moved away from it. He was drafted in 1943 but deserted soon after, when Italy surrendered to the Allies. He hid out in Friulia for the duration of the war, later joining the movement for Friulian autonomy and then the Communist Party.

He had stayed in Friulia after the war, feeling much sympathy with their struggles, and worked as a teacher. However, in 1949, he was arrested for corruption of minors, possibly because of his left-wing views, for which he lost his teaching job, and he was expelled from the Communist Party. He left for Rome, living with his mother (his father joined them later) and struggled to make ends meet. He finally got a job as a teacher in Ciampino. During the 1950s, he started publishing poetry and then his early novels. He also started working for Italian radio. His first major connection with the cinema came in the form of collaboration on the script of Fellini‘s Nights of Cabiria. Before long, he was directing his own films, starting with Accattone. He continued to have a highly successful career as a film director and screenwriter but continued to write fiction.

In 1975, Pasolini was brutally murdered in a field and then run over several times by his own car. It seemed to have been related to his homosexual activities and Giovanni Pelosi was arrested and imprisoned for Pasolini’s murder. However, he later retracted his confession and the case was reopened. It now seems possible that he was killed for his political activities.

Books about Pasolini

Sam Rohdie: The Passion of Pier Paolo Pasolini
Michael Semff (editor): Pasolini and Death: Pier Paolo Pasolini 1922-1975
Enzo Siciliano: Pasolini: A Biography
Oswald Stack: Pasolini on Pasolini


Pier Paolo Pasolini
Pier Paolo Pasolini
Pier Paolo Pasolini
Pier Paolo Pasolini
Pier Paolo Pasolini Biography (1922-)
An introduction to Pier Paolo Pasolini
Restoring Pasolini
Pasolini death inquiry reopened
Who really killed Pier Paolo Pasolini?
Pier Paolo Pasolini (in Italian)
Pier Paolo Pasolini (in Italian)
Pier Paolo Pasolini (in Italian)
Pier Paolo Pasolini (in Italian)
Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922-1975) (in Italian)
Ancora Pasolini (in Italian)
Pasolini uomo artista e intellettuale (in Italian)
Morte di Pier Paolo Pasolini e di Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (in Italian)


1942 Poesie a Casarsa (poetry)
1945 Poesie (poetry)
1945 Diarii (poetry)
1946 I pianti (poetry)
1949 Dov’è la mia patria (poetry)
1953 Tal còur di un frut (poetry)
1954 Dal diario (1945-47) (poetry)
1954 La meglio gioventù (poetry)
1954 Il canto popolare (poetry)
1955 Ragazzi di vita (The Ragazzi; Street Kids; later: Boys Alive) (novel)
1957 Le ceneri di Gramsci (poetry)
1958 L’usignolo della Chiesa Cattolica (poetry)
1959 La notte brava (screenplay)
1959 Una vita violenta (A Violent Life) (novel)
1960 Roma 1950. Diario (poetry)
1960 Sonetto primaverile (poetry)
1960 Passione e ideologia, 1948-1958 (essays)
1960 Donne di Roma. Sette storie (stories)
1961 La religione del mio tempo (poetry)
1961 Accattone (screenplay)
1962 Mamma Roma (screenplay)
1962 Il sogno di una cosa (A Dream of Something) (novel)
1962 L’odore dell’India (The Scent of India) (travel)
1964 Il Vangelo secondo Matteo (screenplay)
1964 Poesia in forma di rosa (A Desperate Vitality) (poetry)
1965 La Commare Secca (screenplay)
1965 Poesie dimenticate (poetry)
1965 Alì dagli occhi azzurri (Roman Nights and Other Stories) (stories)
1965 Potentissima signora (with Laura Betti) (poetry)
1966 Uccellacci e uccellini (screenplay)
1967 Edipo Re (Oedipus Rex) (screenplay)
1968 Teorema (Theorem) (novel)
1969 Porcile (screenplay)
1970 Medea (screenplay)
1970 Poesie (poetry)
1971 Trasumanar e organizzar (poetry)
1971 Empirismo eretico (Heretical Empiricism)
1973 Calderón (drama)
1974 Tal cour di un frut: Nel cuore di un fanciullo (poetry)
1975 Il padre selvaggio (The Savage Father) (screenplay)
1975 Scritti corsari (essays)
1975 Le poesie (poetry)
1975 La Nuova giovento: Poesie friulane 1941-1974 (poetry)
1975 Trilogia della vita (Il Decameron, I racconti di Canterbury, il Fiore delle Mille e una notte) (screenplay)
1975 La Divina Mimesis (The Divine Mimesis) (novel – incomplete)
1976 Volgar’eloquio
1976 Lettere luterane (Lutheran Letters) (journalism)
1977 San Paolo (screenplay)
1977 Le belle bandiere (writings from Vie Nuove, Italian Communist Party magazine)
1978 I disegni, 1941-1975 (graphic work)
1979 Descrizioni di descrizioni (literary articles from Tempo magazine
1979 Il caos (articles from Tempo magazine
1980 Poesie e pagine ritrovate (poetry)
1981 Per conoscere Pasolini (selections)
1982 Poems (bilingual edition) (poetry)
1982 Amado mio; Atti impuri (short novels)
1984 Selected Poems (bilingual edition) (poetry)
1984 Pier Paolo Pasolini : Drawings and Paintings
1984 Sette poesie e due lettere (poetry)
1986 Roman Poems (bilingual edition) (poetry)
1988 Teatro (drama)
1988 Il Portico della Morte (criticism)
1991 Le regole di un’illusione : i film, il cinema (film criticism)
1992 Petrolio (Petrolio) (novel)
1992 Poetry (poetry)
1993 Bestemmia: tutte le poesie (poetry)
1993 Un paese di temporali e di primule (various writings)
1994 Romàns (novel)
1995 Storie della città di Dio. Racconti e cronache romane (Stories from the City of God) (stories)
1996 I film degli altri (film reviews)
1996 Poems (poetry)
1997 Poesie Scelte (poetry)
1998 Romanzi e racconti (novels & stories)
1999 Saggi sulla letteratura e sull’arte (articles)
1999 Saggi sulla politica e sulla società (articles)
2000 Poesie rifiutate : 1968-1969 (poetry)
2002 La Nuova gioventu: Poesie Friulane 1941-1974 (poetry)
2003 Tutte le poesie (poetry)
2003 Il re dei giapponesi (novel)
2005 Bestia da stile (drama)
2005 Petrolio (novel)
2005 Meditazione orale (poetry)
2005 La lunga strada di sabbia (essay – first published in magazine in 1959)
2006 La voce di Pasolini: i testi
2010 In Danger: A Pasolini Anthology
2010 Poeta delle ceneri (poetry)