Risorgimento in Modern Italian Culture: Revisiting the Nineteenth Century Past in History, Narrative, and Cinema (The Fairleigh Dickinson University Press Series in Italian Studies)

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9781611473001: Risorgimento in Modern Italian Culture: Revisiting the Nineteenth Century Past in History, Narrative, and Cinema (The Fairleigh Dickinson University Press Series in Italian Studies)
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The renewed attention to the origin and shape of nationalist discourses has promoted many excellent studies devoted to examining the rich storehouse of cultural responses produced during and after Risorgimento, the political events that, from 1859 to 1870, led Italy from being a fragmented peninsula to an independent and unified nation-state. However, the assessment of Risorgimento and its myths from the post-World War II era to the present remains, for the most part, unexplored. While it is undeniable that the dramatic economic, social, and political transformations that have characterized Italy from the second half of the twentieth century to the present have altered the role and function of nationalist narratives, it remains equally true that interest in the Risorgimento in modern Italian culture has not diminished.

Confirming Eric J. Hobshawn's intuition that the twilight of nationhood is, in effect, leading to an increased attention to processes of nation-building and state-formation, Italy's foundational story has been the object of a revisiting so extensive that it merits close attention. The present volume is an effort in this direction. Without claiming to provide an exhaustive, overarching panorama, Risorgimento in Modern Italian Culture collects the work of scholars whose different methodologies and fields of specialty provide a starting point to appraise the enduring significance of the nineteenth-century past in modern Italy from a variety of traditional as well as hitherto less studied perspectives. While the first part of the volume, "Recent Histories of the Risorgimento" is devoted to an examination of the current work of Risorgimento historians, the remaining five parts have been allocated to describe the use of the ninetheenth-century past in modern narratives, including film and, especially, the novel, since this is a genre that historically has occupied a unique position in defining the Italian nation and its people.

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Norma Bouchard is associate professor of Italian and comparative literary and cultural studies at the University of Connecticut, Storrs.

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