The Conformist (Il conformista) is a novel by Alberto Moravia published in 1951, which details the life and desire for normalcy of a government official during Italy’s fascist period. It is also known for the 1970 film adaptation by Bernardo Bertolucci.
Marcello spends the entire novel in a search for what he perceives to be a normal life – normal activities, a normal appearance, normal emotions, and so on. However, he confuses normality with conformity, and in his quest to conform, subjugates his already-repressed emotions. When the natural course of his life presents him with ethical dilemmas – the assignment to betray Professor Quadri, his attraction to women other than his wife – he is ill-prepared to deal with them. Moravia also intimates a connection between sexual repression and fascism.