The multi-use name "Luther Blissett" was used as a nom de plume by four Italian authors, Roberto Bui, Giovanni Cattabriga, Federico Guglielmi and Luca Di Meo. The four were part of the so-called "Luther Blissett Project", which ended in 1999. Now they write under the "Wu Ming" name.
The novel, originally published in Italian, has been translated into several languages. All of the editions keep the original copyright statement, which allows for non-commercial reproduction of the book.
The book follows the journey of an Anabaptist radical across Europe in the first half of the 16th century as he joins in various movements and uprisings that come as a result of the Protestant reformation. The book spans 30 years as he is pursued by 'Q', a spy for the Roman Catholic Church cardinal Giovanni Pietro Carafa. The main character, who changes many names during the story, first fights in the Peasants' War beside Thomas Müntzer, then is in Münster's siege, during the Münster Rebellion, and some years later, in Venice.
Interpretations and controversyEdit
Throughout Europe, several critics have read Q from a political point of view, and maintain that the novel is an allegory of European society after the decline of the 1960s and 1970s protest movements. As in the 16th century the Counter-Reformation repressed any alternative theological current or radical social movement, and the Peace of Augsburg sanctioned the partition of the continent among Catholic and Protestant powers, so the last twenty years of the 20th century were marked by a vengeful rebirth of conservative ideologies, and the IMF-driven corporate globalization of the economy seemed to rout any resistance.
This interpretation stems from the authors themselves describing Q as a "handbook of survival skills", which might cast a revealing light on the book's ending. Is it appropriate to read out of metaphor the fact that the hero eventually finds shelter among Muslims in the Ottoman Empire?
However, this is just one of the many interpretations emerged in the aftermath of publication. According to other readers and critics, Q is a thinly disguised autobiography of Luther Blissett as a subversive, identity-shifting collective phantom. In fact, the protagonist has no name (and it must be pointed out that the authors later renamed themselves Wu Ming, which is Chinese for "no name"), is involved in every tumult of the age, incites the people to rebellion, and organizes hoaxes, swindles and mischievous acts.
Both British novelist Stewart Home and American novelist David Liss have given an interpretation of Q as an "anti-novel", although their respective analyses bring to different conclusions. While Home's review put the emphasis on the social, political and subcultural references embedded in the plot, Liss' review dismissed the book as unnecessary and self-referential.
Yet other readers have expressed the opinion that Q — apart from radicalism, postmodernism, and allegories — is above all an adventure novel, a swashbuckler in the very Italian tradition of Emilio Salgari and other popular feuilleton authors.
News of film adaptationEdit
Rumours about a film adaptation of Q have been circulating since the first publication of the book, but they have never turned into reality.
On December 9, 2007, British newspaper The Observer published a lengthy interview with Radiohead. In that context, Thom Yorke talked about the experience of reading Q: "Oh it's fucking ace! But my missus, that's her specialist field, so she's been explaining it to me all the way through. Medieval church carnage. It's mental. I want to get it made into a film. That's my next mission." Then the interviewer asked: " Using the In Rainbows profits?", to which Yorke replied: "I doubt it. That would cover basically the catering."
Characters and eventsEdit
- Thomas Müntzer – Reformation pastor and Anabaptist;
- Martin Bucer – Protestant reformer;
- Wolfgang Fabricius Capito – German reformer;
- Martin Borrhaus (Cellarius) – Unitarianist refomer;
- 15 May 1525 - Battle of Frankenhausen
- Jan van Leiden – Münster rebellion anabaptist leader and King
- Jan Matthys – anabaptist leader and alleged prophet
- Melchior Hoffman – anabaptist prophet
- Bernhard Rothmann – anabaptist theologian
- Franz von Waldeck – prince-bishop of Münster and army chief in the siege of the city
- Bernhard Knipperdolling – guild leader in Münster city council and anabaptist leader
- Bernhard Krechting – guild leader in Münster city council and anabaptist leader
- Heinrich Krechting
- Heinrich Gresbeck
- John Trypmaker
- Jan van Batenburg – revolutionary Anabaptist;
- Anton Fugger – banker
- Eloi Pruystinck – Reformation leader
- João Miquez – merchant
- Giovanni Pietro Carafa – cardinal, later Pope Paul IV
- Reginald Pole – cardinal
The following are printed editions. Downloadable online editions in several languages can be found here.
- Czech: Dokořán, 2006, ISBN 80-7363-072-9
- Danish: Hovedland, 2002, ISBN 87-7739-554-9
- Dutch: Wereldbibliotheek, 2001, ISBN 90-2841-877-6
- English: Heinemann, 2003, ISBN 0-434-01000-6–Harcourt, 2004, ISBN 0-15-101063-3–Arrow, 2004, ISBN 0-09-943983-2
- French: Seuil, 2001, ISBN 2-02-040066-9, with the title L'oeil de Carafa
- German: Piper, 2003, ISBN 3-492-23990-0
- Greek: Travlos, 2001, ISBN 9-607-99035-8
- Italian: Einaudi, 1999, ISBN 88-06-15572-5
- Korean, 2006
- Polish: Albatros, 2005, ISBN 83-7359-269-5
- Portuguese (Brazilian): Conrad, 2002, ISBN 85-87193-56-2
- Russian : Machaon, 2006, ISBN 5-18-001036-5
- Spanish: Grijalbo/Mondadori, 2000, ISBN 84-9759-358-8
- Download of Q and other works by same authors
- Alleged speech anachronisms in Q: The authors reply (2004).
- A long list of reviews in several languages can be found at 
- Another list of reviews and ordering information can be found at 
- Authors' official website de:Q (Roman)
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