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Italian Cultural Lineages

Italian Cultural Lineages

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    Italian Cultural Lineages
    Book Description:

    Ideally suited to course use, and written with great lucidity,Italian Cultural Lineageswill prove fascinating to students, academics, and general readers alike.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8446-1
    Subjects: Sociology, Anthropology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  5. Introduction: Kangaroos, Papyrus Scrolls, and the Poetics of Cultural History
    (pp. 3-27)

    ‘What sort of perceptibility should the presentation of history possess?’ asked Walter Benjamin,¹ driven to the question by his belief, which he worked into almost everything he wrote, that ‘being past, being no more, is passionately at work in things.’² We could do worse than use Benjamin as one important benchmark in our own attempts (as he put it) at ‘distilling the present, as inmost essence of what has been.’³ I have written the present book on Italy out of a complementary conviction; namely, that to capture this passionate historicity in the things we treat requires so remarkable but also...

  6. 1 Modes of Viewing: From Vasari to Film and Television Culture
    (pp. 28-58)

    How do we conceptualize the world, including our own or any other culture within it? In particular, what devices or technologies have provided – or currently provide – ways of bringing what is historically or geographically distant into a frame of reference and mode for viewing?

    There is a way by which we may conceptualize modes of popular viewing of things both far and near in time and space. I call this conceptualization a ‘cultural cosmorama,’ which is admittedly a metaphor, but one grounded in an account of actual optic boxes of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. These viewing...

  7. 2 Fantasy, Science, and Hyperreality: From Ariosto and Galileo to Las Vegas
    (pp. 59-86)

    In a 1968 written elaboration of answers he had given in a television interview on relations between science and literature, Italo Calvino began to outline one of the most important lineages in Italian culture in terms of just a few of its salient figures from the High Renaissance onwards. ‘The ideal way in which Galileo regarded the world, even as a scientist, is nourished by literary culture. So much so that we can draw a line from Ariosto to Galileo to Leopardi and call it one of the mainstreams of our literature.’ (‘L’ideale di sguardo sul mondo che guida anche...

  8. 3 Passion in the Operatic Repertoire
    (pp. 87-102)

    We are used to the cliché that Italian temperaments are operatically passionate. Is there anything more interesting to be said about this notion, either as to how it came to be perpetrated, or whether there are not scintillas of a more complex truth underlying it? Or is opera, so stylised as it has always been, scarcely representative of the lived experience of either its audiences or their surrounding contexts? In short, did certain kinds of passional expression evident in earlier phases of the Italian operatic tradition take on a life of its own that affected, or was in turn ongoingly...

  9. 4 Capital Contrasts: Naples and Turin a Century before Unification
    (pp. 103-143)

    The following critical meditation compares the cites of Turin and Naples as they existed well before Italian unification, in the last decades of theancien régime. I want to consider these very different capitals of independent kingdoms within the total geographical space that would later became the one Kingdom of Italy. During that drawn-out phase of history, we see such states undergoing the ferment of Enlightenment thought and technological and institutional advances; however, deep structural changes had yet to be wrought in the old political and material dispensation of Europe, which was still in essence profoundly feudal. Later on in...

  10. 5 Justice and the Individual, Torture and the State
    (pp. 144-175)

    When one examines the traditions of justice in the theory and, to a more limited extent, practice of Italian law, sometimes the obverse face of injustice becomes the one most on view. The effects of justice or injustice on wider public feeling and perception in Italy must also be taken into account as I seek to define an Italian lineage of writing on this subject since the Enlightenment. In 1964, two important figures in such a tradition were examined by A.P. d’Entrèves in thematic terms that I should like to reassess. D’Entrèves presented outstanding texts by Cesare Beccaria and by...

  11. 6 Italy’s Romantic Reputation
    (pp. 176-217)

    The arrival of the age of individuality, where the ‘I’ believes itself richer in spirit than the communal ‘We,’ is an all-important issue in light of the much-debated construction of what we have seen Alessandro Manzoni call the difficult ‘We’ of Italians –la costruzione del difficile ‘noi’ degli italiani. It was Manzoni’s sense that this difficult ‘We,’ rather than being a communal spirit in the process of formation, is something largely of the past, increasingly lost to the individualism (spirito d’individualità) of the present age. Of equal importance is his gloss that the ‘I’ of individualism is confident in,...

  12. 7 Lifestyles High and Low in Changing Post-Unification Urbanism
    (pp. 218-276)

    In this, my last chapter, I deal with Italian urbanism of the mid- and late nineteenth century, and tackle altered and expanding urban contexts, as well as novel commercial paradigms and industrial structures. In its closing section I enquire how changed urban lifestyles were represented visually, in paintings and later (retrospectively) in historical films. In doing so I seek all the while to account for evolutions in urban Italian lifestyles that such rapid changes in built context brought about by way of opportunity for the well-to-do, or by way of further impoverishment on those already vulnerable. Not for nothing have...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 277-302)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 303-316)
  15. Index
    (pp. 317-330)