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Oriana Fallaci

The Woman and the Myth

Santo L. Aricò 

Publication Year: 2010

Based on his own extensive personal interviews with the writer, Santo L. Aricò provides the definitive biography of Oriana Fallaci, a popular and flamboyant Italian journalist, war correspondent, and novelist who, in the public imagination, approaches mythical proportions and who, with every work she produces, creates and re-creates that myth.

Published by: Southern Illinois University Press

Front Cover

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Copyright Page

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pp. ix-x

Oriana Fallaci, one of the twentieth century's most celebrated journalists, interviewers, war correspondents, and novelists has acquired an international reputation. Translators have made most of her books available thoughout the world. Pro-life advocates and radical feminists alike study Letter to a Child Never Born and claim it as their own to justify their positions on abortion. ...

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pp. 12-14

I thank Charles Conrad, Robert Frishman, James Mareus, and John Shepley, who allowed me to use material from "my telephone interviews with them in the preparation of this book. I am grateful for the help and goodwill of my colleaguess-too many to mention by name-and the staff of the John Davis Williams Library at the University of Mississippi. I am obliged to the College ...

Frontis Illustration

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pp. 1-2

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Introduction: In Search of Truth

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pp. 3-9

I FIRST DISCOVERED ORIANA Fallaci in 1980 when a friend gave me her book Niente e cosi sia (Nothing and Amen). That moment marked the beginning of an intimate, emotional, and highly strained relationship that would ultimately culminate in the publication of Oriana Fallaci: The Woman and the Myth....

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1. Florence

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pp. 10-24

Oriana Fallaci's fame in the world did not occur haphazardly. An entire childhood laid the foundation for an exceptional career. She was born in Florence, Italy, in 1929 as daughter to Edoardo and Tosca Fallaci, the two most important people in her life. The somber-faced infant spent the early years of her childhood on the Via del ...

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2. Kipling, London, Hemingway

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pp. 25-37

Oriana Fallaci consistently communicates a concept of journalism that never limits the press to a simple informative role. Lively ideas, intelligent discussions of cultural questions, and artistry characterize her articles. She regards her reports on Vietnam, investigations of the Arab and Israeli conflicts, and interviews of Henry Kissinger, ...

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3. Lights, Camera, Action

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pp. 38-53

From the outset of her career, Fallaci's writing took on a flamboyant, memorializing character. Her attraction to acting further fueled this tendency. Michele Serra, editor of Europeo, recognized the dynamism of her style, invited her to join his staff, and sent her to Hollywood to write about the American city many Italians regarded ...

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4. On Center Stage

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pp. 54-70

Despite the time requirements of a demanding profession, Fallaci published her first novel, Penelope alla guerra (Penelope at War), in 1962. The book was an early attempt to compose a work of fiction but, nevertlleless, continues her pattern of projecting performances of self-revelation. Outlining a young woman's internal stnuggle to ...

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5. Reaching for the Moon

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pp. 71-96

By 1965, Oriana Fallaci had already achieved a degree of fame in the world. Translators had worked her books into English, French, Spanish, and other languages. In addition, Fallaci claims that journalists from various countries began to copy her articles and declare them their own. Commentaries on her professional accomplishments ...

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6. Movie Screen in Southeast Asia

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pp. 97-115

In 1967, Fallaci enthusiastically requested to go to Vietnam, initiating an eight-year adventure as a war correspondent. In every sense of the term, the bloody debacle in Southeast Asia was a turning point.1 She dove headfirst into the infemo of war and produced a series of articles for Europeo, as well as the prizewinning book ...

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7. Superstar on a Balcony

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pp. 116-125

In late September 1968, Fallaci flew to Mexico City to report on student discontent with a government that continued to spend millions of dollars in preparation for the Olympics while a large segment of the population lived in dire poverty. She again immersed herself in the reportage and made her close call with death, as well as her emotional outrage with Mexican authorities, high points of her articles. Through her ...

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8. Performances of a Lifetime

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pp. 126-157

Fallaci's most important interviews occurred with heads of state and significant political figures. They broke the limits of print journalism, sometimes resembled theatrical productions, and were often aggressive. During her encounters, she often argued, turned her direct questions into frontal assaults, and rarely suffered a defeat. She became ...

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9. To Be or Not to Be

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pp. 158-175

After the publication of Interview With History, Fallaci began a new phase in her career. She had succeeded at breaking the limits that journalism had, to her mind, imposed and once again pursued her desire to produce a purely literary work. Thus, she took a leave of absence to write a poetic novel, Lettera a un bambino mai nato. ...

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10. The Man or the Woman

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pp. 176-193

More obviously than Letter to a Child Never Born, Un uomo demonstrates Fallaci's conjoining of journalism, fiction, and autobiography. The 1979 book also widened the rift between the author and translators. Fallaci had first wanted John Shepley to translate Un uomo into the English A Man and to capture the Oracle-at-Delphi quality ...

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11. Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, and Fallaci

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pp. 194-224

Fallaci reached the height of her writing career in 1990 with the publication of Insciallah, her most mature book.1 Her use of the Arabic word insciallah, which means "as God wills," emphasizes her concern with human destiny and search for answers to the eternal questions. The book is the expression of a new image. Fallaci wanted ...

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pp. 225-234

Fallaci's rich literary dramas fuse intimately with her personal ceremonials-a combination that thrusts her image before the public eye. The decision to make herself her own main character did not occur by chance. It was the product of reflection and deliberate choice. Fallaci has always hungered for dignity and power in ...


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pp. 235-258


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pp. 259-268


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pp. 269-276

Author Bio

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Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780809385973
E-ISBN-10: 080938597X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780809330058
Print-ISBN-10: 0809330059

Page Count: 288
Illustrations: 1 line drawing
Publication Year: 2010