Keywords: Contemporary Italian Novel; The Years of the Lead; Political Violence; Terrorism; Impegno.
he period between the piazza Fontana bombing and the kidnapping of Aldo Moro is widely represented in Italian culture. Between 2001 and 2015 more than thirty novels about the 1970s have been published. Drawing on interviews, the article asks six authors about their aims in writing about the Italian 1970s. Since during the 2000s the debate around a new "impegno" seemed to arise in Italy, my hypothesis was that Italian writers would depict themselves as committed intellectuals willing to build public consciousness and offer counter-histories of a controversial past. However, most of them refuse to be considered as committed artists and highlight the literary autonomy of their work. They tend to safeguard their identity as pure writers and feel that "impegno" has been used as a brand by the publishing industry. In doing so, they distance themselves from the market and stress their value as writers.