Piero Chiara's coffeehouses are a refuge for political dissidents, spies, and drifters. His anti-heroes' vicissitudes constitute a web of references throughout his work that depicts an ideal autobiography and extols, in the Italian literature, the role of coffeehouses. Historians describe four types of coffeehouses in twentieth-century Italy: caf-chantant, literary caf, luxury caf, and popular coffeehouse. Each character's oratorical verve, even if limited to the provincial world Chiara describes, reflects the qualities of the perfect homo facetus, great storyteller and companion of the Italian courts. Chiara completes his project of social fiction with an exploration of the function of play in coffeehouses. Johann Huizinga considers play a free activity experienced as 'make-believe' in a space outside of everyday life. His ablest coffeehouse orators promote a social critique that challenges also the political regime. In Chiara's works, writing becomes the act to save both freedom of expression and the identity mask any author wears to survive.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||The Thinking Space|
|Subtitle of host publication||The Cafe as a Cultural Institution in Paris, Italy and Vienna|
|Publisher||Taylor and Francis|
|Number of pages||16|
|State||Published - Jan 1 2016|