The Daily Heller: I Always Learn New Things in Italy

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During my recent stay in Rome, I was happily surprised to discover the vintage magazine Il Delator (The Informer), a wry literary-satiric journal published from 1958–1960 and 1964–1965. Each issue was devoted to a single provocative, if not always happy, theme—children, death, sadism, silence, madness and the “Italian Gesture.” The issue excerpted below is a “dictionary” of criminal slang.

Among its roster of scabrous cartoonists are the prolific surrealist Roland Topor (cover) and Siné (known for simple linear wit in the French satiric periodical Charlie Hebdo). The dictionary features artifacts of criminal life, from mugshots of the Camorristica (mafia) hierarchy to sketches from a criminal museum in Rome.