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Submitted by Peter Lewicke (not verified) on 18 Apr 2017 - 20:35 Permalink

For some reason The Cardinal's Mistress came up in conversation earlier today. I read the book several years ago, but I couldn't remember details, and the person I was speaking with didn't believe that Mussolini had written it.

This page has the most information that I have found about it. I agree with the general opinion of the book, but there were a few places where it was almost good. I think that it should have been edited after completion, so that the pieces would go together better, and I wonder if a better translator might have helped.

Submitted by Mr. Carlton Tsch (not verified) on 29 May 2014 - 19:14 Permalink

"Bollocks","you facile, weak-minded, cacophilic poltroon". Thank you for the laugh and smile I wear while writing this. Having a copy which I read with (I must say) Great Difficulty I find it difficult to determine if this reply to a post 'Should have been made about the book'. "TRIPE" Sums it up quite nicely. Other than a gift to my Doctor (an Italophile) 'with a smirk and a wink'. Of the Thousands of books I have had the pleasure to read (mostly sci-fi) This Atrocity's Only claim to fame is the name of the author under a Horrendous title. It sits on my shelf next to Mien Kampf. Of Historical value Only (I should correct that to Hysterical value) It was a Chore to read and as satisfying as a used popsicle stick. (R R R) , C.T.

Submitted by Alfred Armstrong on 24 Mar 2011 - 13:05 Permalink

Google Books Search reveals both that "The Starving Artists Survival Guide" provides this attribution and also that my review on this page is quoted in an earlier chapter, haha.

Submitted by Paul Davis (not verified) on 24 Mar 2011 - 13:05 Permalink

Alfred, thanks for your quick reply. I have to admit, I am not as scholarly as some of the other "posters" (or as they seem to think they are), but I am nonetheless impressed by your wit and dissection of this writing (using the term writing loosely). I do look forward to your further reviews. Is this the site were I would find your next? If not, please feel free to email me at deadtender@yahoo.com. Thanks and again, good work!!
Submitted by Paul Davis (not verified) on 24 Mar 2011 - 12:50 Permalink

Alfred, I agree with your narrative. I do have one question .... Isn't this the book Dorothy Parker critiqued with the following: "This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force." I'm not sure, but I thought this might be it. Keep up the good work.
Submitted by Alfred Armstrong on 24 Mar 2011 - 13:05 Permalink

Google Books Search reveals both that "The Starving Artists Survival Guide" provides this attribution and also that my review on this page is quoted in an earlier chapter, haha.

Submitted by Guy Fulton on 27 Jan 2011 - 01:38 Permalink

I know of no books by Stalin but you might be interested in the art exibit which displays notes he wrote to nude drawings. One has to hope they are authentic because they are really hilarious. I wish I could find a site which posted all of them but here is a sample: http://englishrussia.com/index.php/2009/12/14/%E2%80%9Cgay%E2%80%9D-notes-of-stalin-on-the-celebs-reproductions/
Submitted by Nobbsy (not verified) on 24 Jan 2011 - 01:57 Permalink

Alfred: thanks for the funny and informative review. I was aware that Hitler attempted to write an opera, but I never imagined that Benito also had artistic aspirations. His "novel" is mentioned, briefly, in Joesph Mailo's "Cry Havoc: how the arms race drove the world to war 1931- 1941". What about Stalin? Any chance he wrote a screenplay on the side?
Submitted by Guy Fulton on 27 Jan 2011 - 01:38 Permalink

I know of no books by Stalin but you might be interested in the art exibit which displays notes he wrote to nude drawings. One has to hope they are authentic because they are really hilarious. I wish I could find a site which posted all of them but here is a sample: http://englishrussia.com/index.php/2009/12/14/%E2%80%9Cgay%E2%80%9D-notes-of-stalin-on-the-celebs-reproductions/
Submitted by Lord Kefka (not verified) on 29 Sep 2010 - 21:10 Permalink

Nifty! I gather that Saddam Hussein wrote (or ghostwrote) several novels, the titles of which sound like they were made up by Italo Calvio. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saddam_Hussein%27s_novels It would not surprise me in the least if the works of more dictators could be found. Perhaps Alfred Armstrong could even make a section of his excellent site for these curious objects. A quick search reveals that Kim Jong Il wrote a book out of his field of expertise called "On the Art of the Cinema" and another "Kim Jong Il on the Art of Opera: Talk to Creative Workers in the Field of Art and Literature " who's product description on Amazon.com says, if you can believe it: "The harmonious whole between the leader and the leader that has been all the more consolidated with belief and cemented with filial obligation is the most valuable gain of our revolution, as well as the source of the Republic's invincible power."
Submitted by Alfred Armstrong on 30 Jan 2010 - 18:05 Permalink

What is important here is not to critique Mussolini's skills or talents as a writer.

Bollocks. Don't tell me what's "important" on my own website, you nincompoop. This page is about the book, not about that puffed-up creep Mussolini. If you want to write a different article, in which you masturbate feverishly over the great man and his horrible enterprise, fine. Just do it somewhere else, you facile, weak-minded, cacophilic poltroon.

"Thanks for listening"? Piss off

Submitted by Davy Jones (not verified) on 30 Jan 2010 - 16:49 Permalink

Come on, folks; What is important here is not to critique Mussolini's skills or talents as a writer. No, not at all. What is important here is to ask and answer the following questions: What was it about this man that allowed him to take center stage in Italian history for more than two decades? What about this man caused Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt (prior to WWII) praise him? And, is there anything revealed in this man's novel, anything at all, that would portend those events occuring in his life? Hmmm? Thanks for listening, Davy Jones
Submitted by Alfred Armstrong on 30 Jan 2010 - 18:05 Permalink

What is important here is not to critique Mussolini's skills or talents as a writer.

Bollocks. Don't tell me what's "important" on my own website, you nincompoop. This page is about the book, not about that puffed-up creep Mussolini. If you want to write a different article, in which you masturbate feverishly over the great man and his horrible enterprise, fine. Just do it somewhere else, you facile, weak-minded, cacophilic poltroon.

"Thanks for listening"? Piss off

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on 10 Jan 2010 - 23:47 Permalink

Mussolini wasn't the only Fascist dictator to fancy himself a man of letters. Francisco Franco thought the same thing but managed to carry it through not in print but in film (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raza_%28film%29).
Submitted by Lord Kefka (not verified) on 29 Sep 2010 - 21:10 Permalink

Nifty! I gather that Saddam Hussein wrote (or ghostwrote) several novels, the titles of which sound like they were made up by Italo Calvio. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saddam_Hussein%27s_novels It would not surprise me in the least if the works of more dictators could be found. Perhaps Alfred Armstrong could even make a section of his excellent site for these curious objects. A quick search reveals that Kim Jong Il wrote a book out of his field of expertise called "On the Art of the Cinema" and another "Kim Jong Il on the Art of Opera: Talk to Creative Workers in the Field of Art and Literature " who's product description on Amazon.com says, if you can believe it: "The harmonious whole between the leader and the leader that has been all the more consolidated with belief and cemented with filial obligation is the most valuable gain of our revolution, as well as the source of the Republic's invincible power."
Submitted by Alfred Armstrong on 04 Nov 2009 - 11:59 Permalink

Good point. I guess what I was trying to get at is that he takes little care to make them real to the reader, sympathetic or not. In much second-rate fiction the characters become subject to the needs of the plot, rather than it seeming to arise out of their nature: but here neither plot nor character seems to matter.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on 04 Nov 2009 - 02:44 Permalink

But a book does not have to be great literature to be worth reading, if it has, say, a fast-moving plot, interesting characters, humour - intentional or otherwise - or a smattering of lubricious sex. None of these things are to be found here, sadly. Very amusing. But: it is hard to say whether his two protagonists are supposed to be sympathetic or not This, to me, could be a favorable description of sophisticated fiction. I'm certainly not expecting that, given the author and your review, but your line, to me, is not the criticism you intended.
Submitted by Alfred Armstrong on 04 Nov 2009 - 11:59 Permalink

Good point. I guess what I was trying to get at is that he takes little care to make them real to the reader, sympathetic or not. In much second-rate fiction the characters become subject to the needs of the plot, rather than it seeming to arise out of their nature: but here neither plot nor character seems to matter.

Submitted by aria brayton (not verified) on 11 Oct 2009 - 20:46 Permalink

Has anonymous entertained the astounding idea that it's a little off-putting in the first place to most people (and especially Catholic Italians) to consider a Cardinal's mistress? You know...he's a CARDINAL?!?!!! That Mussolini writes about the sex life of a Vatican employee so matter-of-factly should have set warning bells off in the head of every Italian in Italy. Assuming nothing else had managed to set warning bells off before. Can't wait to read it. I'm sure it's a "laff riot."
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on 06 May 2009 - 14:44 Permalink

Never heard of this book before, but it shows the tragedy of a man born ahead of his time. Mussolini should have been born eighty years later, where his writing could be used by the Italian porn movie industry. A much better outcome for everyone...
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on 22 Mar 2009 - 11:45 Permalink

I agree with those who say that it is best not to judge Sir P. G. Wodehouse and G√ľnter Grass based on their old fascist ties - but that is because these two are primarily writers, not politicians. In the period when he was writing this book he was writing a good deal of other garbage and putting together his jerkwad political philosophy. His whole life was socialism. To say that this book is somehow distinct from all of that is really crazy. It would be akin to saying that Hitler didn't inject his ideals into German art. Although I agree that it is vaguely possible for Il Duce to have created a book without injecting his ideals into it the review of the contents makes it clear this was not the case as anti-clericalism reportedly was part of his beliefs at that time.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on 29 Dec 2008 - 21:26 Permalink

I think that this paper is peculiarly biased in the facts and anything pertaining to this subject. There is too much information counting AGAINST him, you REALLY need to encounter another view on the subject. Even though all authors of subjects and matters have biases and other difficulties, it does not mean that you should extend the theory... I have NEVER encountered a bias such as this(even though I do not like Benito Mussolini). It is NO excuse, it is a shameful paper to say the least.