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Giovannino Guareschi (1908-1968) was an Italian journalist, humorist, and cartoonist best known for his short stories based on the fictional Catholic priest Don Camillo. In this study, Alan R. Perry explores the Don Camillo stories from the perspective of Christian hermeneutics, a unique approach and the best critical key to unlocking the richness of both the author and his tales.

The stories of Don Camillo, the cantankerous but beloved priest, and his sidekick, Communist mayor Peppone, continue to entertain viewers and readers. Their Cold War adventures, mishaps, arguments, and reconciliations have a timeless quality, and their actions reflect endearing values that prevail even today. The stories delight, to be sure, but the best of them also force us to stop and think about how Guareschi so powerfully conveyed the Christian message of faith, hope, and love. To appreciate the true genius of Guareschi, Perry argues that we must delve deeper into the latent spiritual meaning that many of his stories contain. In reflecting popular understandings of the faith, the Don Camillo tales allow us to appreciate a sacred awareness of the world, an understanding communicated through objects, gestures, expressions, and actual religious rites.

The first full-length scholarly examination of the Don Camillo stories to appear, this book offers a solid appreciation of Italian cultural values and discusses the ways in which those values were contested in the first decades of the Cold War.

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