Carmelo Bene (1937–2002) was a notorious Italian actor, writer, and director who inaugurated his theater in 1959 with Camus’ Caligula then exploded onto the artistic scene with his outré Christ ’63. Later, he collaborated with Pasolini, Glauber Rocha, Bussotti and others as well as philosophers, like Gilles Deleuze.
His novel Our Lady of the Turks (1964) recounts the bizarre, eccentric rituals of a young actor on a knightly quest, in the manner of the Crusaders, to hone his art so that he may ultimately become an idiot, if not a saint.
C.B. describes Our Lady of the Turks as the jeu de cartes of a perverse novel on the idiolect. It is an amusing and merciless parody of “interior life,” risibly entrusted to the third-person narrative form: a monody peopled by a thousand and one voices.
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