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Tondelli, Pier Vittorio (1955-1991)  
page: 1  2  

The non-commercial publication of Biglietti agli Amici is a sign of Tondelli's retreat from mundane Milanese society and his revulsion against modern consumerism. Another sign was his decision to live in an unfashionable and obscure street, via Abbadesse.

In a book-length interview with Fulvio Panzeri, Tondelli complained that "the Eighties were tragic because of . . . the superficiality, the vulgar willingness to impose one's presence and a certain stupidity which emerged and erased those possibilities that had been created by the 1970s. Everything was sacrificed in the name of the rules of the market, of efficiency and productivity."

In 1989 Tondelli founded, with Enzo Siciliano and Elisabetta Rasy, the literary magazine Panta and published his last novel, Camere Separate (translated in English as Separate Rooms). The following year he collected a great number of his critical essays, short stories, and newspaper articles in the volume Un Weekend Postmoderno ("A Postmodern Weekend").

Camere Separate focuses on the mourning of the novelist Leo for the death of his beloved Thomas. Although Tondelli declared that reading the story as specifically about gay people would be wrong--"I wouldn't talk of homosexuality. I would talk of love, full stop. I am tired of these distinctions concerning a way of loving which is, after all, similar to everyone else's"-- the homosexual specificity of the work is crucial.

Often hailed by Catholic critics as a novel of conversion that repudiates the transgressiveness of the author's earlier texts and documents his return to the Catholic faith, Camere Separate actually questions the validity of heterosexual culture's claim as the social norm. It also exposes how religion supports this claim and thus excludes and marginalizes gay people.

While he is attending mass in his native town, for example, Leo cannot help but feel tense. He experiences "the one real feeling that he can have when he looks at the crowd: shame." His aversion to official religion is clearly voiced: "He could have joined a religious community. They would have been delighted to take him in. They would have felt even more in the right because the lost sheep had returned to the fold. But he could not give up his own self. He could not cripple himself."

This passage has an almost prophetic quality, for Catholic critics have indeed transformed the novelist into the redeemed sheep, a conception that Tondelli's alleged deathbed pronouncements may encourage, but that his texts deny.

In 1991 Tondelli moved from Milan to Bologna and returned to his Catholic faith. At the end of August he was hospitalized in Reggio Emilia with AIDS complications. He started to work on a new literary project provisionally entitled Sante Messe ("Holy Masses"), which would have described several masses he attended.

Unfortunately Tondelli was only able to jot down some notes: he died on December 16, 1991 at the age of 36.

Luca Prono

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Alberici, Pier Luigi. "L' Addio a Tondelli." Il Resto del Carlino (Dicembre 18, 1991): 7.

Gnerre, Francesco. L'Eroe Negato: Omosessualità  e letteratura nel Novecento Italiano. Milano: Baldini e Castaldi, 2000.

Marabini, Claudio. "Un Libertino in Paradiso." Il Resto del Carlino (Dicembre 17, 1991): 4.

Marozzi, Marco. "Morto Tondelli. Ha Sfidato l'AIDS da Cristiano." Il Resto del Carlino (Dicembre 17, 1991): 1, 4.

Panzeri, Fulvio. "Il Sofferto Cammino di uno Scrittore verso la Redenzione." Avvenire (Dicembre 18, 1991): 34.

_____. Pier Vittorio Tondelli: il mestiere dello scrittore. Roma: Edizioni Theoria. 1997.

Prono, Luca. "A Different Pier: Re-writing Homosexuality into Pier Vittorio Tondelli." International Journal of Sexuality and Gender Studies 5 (October 2000): 295-310.

Romagnoli, Luigi. "Amori Inseparabili." Babilonia (Settembre 1989): 14-16.

Tondelli, Pier Vittorio. "Post Pao Pao." Babilonia (Giugno1983): 24.


    Citation Information
    Author: Prono, Luca  
    Entry Title: Tondelli, Pier Vittorio  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2003  
    Date Last Updated September 13, 2004  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2003, glbtq, inc.  


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