while Wallace and his views were quietlyninterred in scholarly footnotes.nThe consequences have been awfiil.nBestial and inhuman acts gained a quasiscientificnjustification, as “survival of thenfittest” became the excuse for the mostnrapacious and predatory behavior. Ignorednwas the feet that our very use ofnthe word inhuman and the total absencenof analogs (tncanine? insimian? tnfeltne?)ntestifies to man’s distinctivelynmoral character. Nazism, in particular,nwith its cant about inferior races, its eu-n”1934 is very much a romantic work.”ngenie experimentation, and its exterminationncamps, seemed terribly logical tonpost-Darwinian men convinced that theynwere truly animals (albeit superior cines)nand that therefore amoral and brutishnbehavior toward other men was not onlynnatural but even imperative.nThe horrors of fescism, of course, arena fevorite theme among 20th-centurynnovelists. Virtually all of them opposenthe specific actions of Hitier, Mussolini,nand their partisans, but the imaginativenforce of their opposition depends ultimatelynupon their vision of man. If theynfollow Darwin, as does Alberto Moravia,nin seeing man as essentially an animal,nthen their artistic repudiation of nazismnmust remain weak and uncompelling,nno matter what talent or ingenuity theynbring to their work. Moravia, to be sure,nis a writer of ability and his attempt inn1934 to discredit German and Italiannfescism shows marks of craftsmanship.nBut a portrait of Darwin hangs in thenCaprisean pensione where the action isncentered, and his pervasive influencenundermines the protagonist’s (and author’s)nstand against the fuhrer and IInDuce.n£iarlyin’ in the novel, the protagonist, anyoimg Italian writer named Lucio, concedesnhis almost complete surrender tonDarwinism by explaining that “we arennot completely human; or rather, we arenhuman only to a minimum degree, let’snIS^HHa^^MMHnChronicles of Cultttrensay two percent; for the other ninetyeightnpercent we are animals.” In a differentnnovel this might be an acceptablenhyperbole expressing the genuine difficultynof mastering the powerful subliminalnimpulses constantly tempting us tonforsake our humanity. However, in 1934nno one wants to be human. Lucio is convincednthat if he allows his “two percentnof humanity” to prevail, he must inevitablynkill himself, since he is “absolutelyncertain that the normal condition of mannshould be despair” and that the logic ofn—Harper’sndespair leads to self-destruction. Notnreally wanting to do this, he seeks ton”stabilize despair” by bringing it into “annunshakable balance” with his animal appetites.nIn his search for such stability,nhe fells in lust with a German actress withna split personality. Half of this woman isnsheer animal: energetic, voracious, libidinous,nand nazi. The other half, the halfnthat most attracts Lucio, is “human,” thatnis, utterly despairing. Hopeless and literary,nshe invites Lucio to join her in adulterynand then, a la Kleist, double suicide.nThus humanness is reduced to a deathnwish, a compulsion fotmd among lemmings,nwhile all vitality is ascribed tonanimality—^and to fescism. Lucio is naturallynopposed to fescism, but its ascen-nnndance, he himself tells us, has nothing tondo with his “metaphysical” despair: “Inwould have felt just as despairing if Fascismnwere to fell,” he admits. Moreover,nLucio is not opposed to fescism becausenit is bestial—since he himself is trying toncultivate enough carnality to survive.nHe is even repeatedly willing to feign allegiancento the brown shirts in order tonget his getiital target closer to his bed.nWhat apparently bothers him about fescismnis that it seeks to organize animality:nlone wolves are acceptable; organizednpacks are not.nIt is order, then, and not fescism thatnLucio and his creator actually abhor.nMoravia even posits a linkage betweennconventional sexuality and fescism onnthe one hand and on the other perversionnand antinazism. In the end, this meansnthat the German actress (both halves)ncommits suicide with her lesbian lovernafl:er the Night of the Long Knives, leavingnLucio drearily balancing his humanndespair and his animal libido.nBut who cares? If Moravia wishes, asnthe dustcover claims, to explore thennature of “politics and love” during an”terrible time,” why has he focused hisnoverly contrived and impfeusibly artificialnplot on featherless bipeds who, havingnno afiirmative sense of their humanity,nwant to blot themselves out of the realmnof aU politics, love, and time just as soonnas sex has grown cloying? The novel includesnseveral n^ative references to nazinanti-Semitism, but what tenable argumentsnor moving sentiments can suicidepronenanthropoids marshal againstnAuschwitz? If the desire to live is nothingnbut an animal drive, why should we considernthe perpetrators of the Holocaustnany more cu^>able than Swift and Armour’snbutchers in the Chicago stockyards?nConversely, if humanness means nothingnbut despondency, then humans everywherenshould have flocked to the gasnchambers and thanked the nazis for providingnsuch a modem convenience.n1 hose destroyed at Auschwitz andnBuchenwald did not eagerly rush tontheir deaths. However, because theyn