Journal of Romance Studies

Roman Fever: Anarchiving Eternal Rome, from Roman Holiday to Petrolio

Journal of Romance Studies (2014), 14, (3), 5–22.

Abstract

Canonical interpretations and representations of Rome appear to be dependent on its image as the ‘Eternal City’. This article presents these images as a dominant narrative that guides the ‘archive’ of the city’s images. Drawing on theoretical concepts that threaten the constitution of such an archive, this article reads queer images of Rome as disturbances that go against the ‘eternal’ archiving principle. With reference to Roman Holiday, it illustrates the close intertwining of eternality in Rome with heteronormativity and reproductive futurity. This connection allows the reading of queer texts and images, such as Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho and Pier Paolo Pasolini’s novel Petrolio, as what we call ‘Roman fever’, that is, the deactivation of ‘eternality’ as the central driver of Rome’s archive.

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Author details

Holdaway, Dom

Trentin, Filippo