Three-pronged attack by the German-language media over the IMPRIMATUR case. It all began in August with the Frankfurter Allgemeine, Germany’s most influential daily: their Venice correspondent, Dirk Schümer, one of the newspaper’s most prestigious writers, dedicated more than half a page to the case of the two authors exiled from their country, treating with scathing irony the “felt-padded Italian cultural milieu”. In the front-page reference to that article, a vitriolic headline: “What a bella figura! One of their books is called IMPRIMATUR yet it’s in their own mother country that the novelist couple Rita Monaldi and Francesco Sorti are the object of a boycott: an exile in the heart of Europe.” Among the subheadings of the article: “The Italian authors Monaldi and Sorti are boycotted in their own country and are preparing their next historical novel in exile.” Schümer writes: “After the exit of Fruttero and Lucentini, Monaldi and Sorti are becoming the new duo, Italy’s new world-class name”. But “in Italy no one knows that”. And then: “That the Vatican of the Baroque age, that the Sun King Louis XIV, that the Habsburgs’ financiers may have changed history by means of poisoning and forged wills: one believes unreservedly in the fictional yet well-documented theses of Monaldi and Sorti’s novels. So why should no one in Italy know anything about them?”
A few weeks later, the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the principal Munich daily, which is with the Frankfurter Allgemeine in the forefront of the German press both in terms of readership and intellectual authority, took up the case in its turn. In another lengthy half-page article, their Rome correspondent, Stefan Ulrich stresses how the duo’s “rigorous and highly detailed” novels , “international best-sellers which have been published in two dozen languages, have for mysterious reasons not been published only in Italy, their mother country.” Among the subheadings of the article: “Their thrillers have met with worldwide success but in Italy, only with scorn.” And then: “Behind all this, the Vatican.”
But the biggest broadside came from a 15-minute documentary produced by the Austrian public TV (ORF) and also transmitted in Germany by the German channels 3Sat and Deutsche Welle. The journalist who directed this film explains, after giving an account of the boycott against Monaldi & Sorti, how she sought a statement from various Italian literary critics and from Mondadori, but got nowhere. Here is the journalist’s scathing comment: “That the opaque Italian publishing business is manipulated by Mafia-type structures is not only the opinion of the two authors.” (“Der undurchsichtige italienische Literaturbetrieb wird von Mafia-ähnlichen Strukturen durchzogen – meinen nicht nur die Autoren.”)…
Meanwhile, Monaldi & Sorti have had to make a formal complaint to the police for abusive phone-tapping (see: http://www.weltexpress.info/index.php?artikel_id=59747&rubrik=éé&land=de): after the German attack someone (perhaps someone from the Italian publishing world?…) was trying to stick his nose into their private life.