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Fascist Virilities: Rhetoric, Ideology, and Social Fantasy in Italy

Barbara Spackman
Copyright Date: 1996
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 208
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  • Book Info
    Fascist Virilities
    Book Description:

    Exploring different conceptions of virility-as well as the reproductive fantasies they produce-in a selection of Italian political manifestos and literary writings, Fascist Virilities exposes the relation between fascist rhetoric and ideology.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8732-9
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. ix-xvi)
  5. 1 Rhetorics of Virility: D’Annunzio, Marinetti, Mussolini, Benjamin
    (pp. 1-33)

    Thus Carlo Emilio Gadda maliciously summarizes the fascist era in his novelEros e Priapo(Eros and Priapo), by carrying the obsession with virility in fascist discourse to its limit: the virilizadon of woman herself. Gadda’s aim is to ridicule fascist discourse by pointing to what he takes to be the absurdity of mixing and matching gender and sex: so outlandish is the fascist rhetoric of virility, his logic goes, that it even extended virility to women’s genitalia! But such a gendering is ridiculous only if one assumes a naturalized relation between gender and sex, in which masculinity is the...

  6. 2 Fascist Women and the Rhetoric of Virility
    (pp. 34-48)

    Perhaps no discursive regime so energetically enforced compulsory heterosexuality as did the fascist regime. Prolific mothers and virile men people its imaginary, while its rhetoric of virility collapses gender and sex, biologizing both. As do all such naturalizations of gender and sex, the fascist rhetoric of virility requires that virility be the property of the male and femininity the property of the female. Any redistribution of properties, any mixing and matching of terms — a feminine man, a masculine woman — is counted as an unnatural monstrosity, perversion, or aberration. Fascism as discursive regime is, in this sense, merely a particularly feverish...

  7. 3 Mafarka and Son: Marinetti’s Homophobic Economics
    (pp. 49-76)

    In his essay “Fascist Ideology,” the intellectual historian Zeev Sternhell has little trouble in characterizing the essential ideological import of F. T. Marinetti’s futurism as fascist from start to finish, from 1909 to 1943:

    As early as 1909 the Futurists’ Manifesto had set out the essentials of what subsequently became the moral ideals of fascism, to which the twenties and thirties made no new contribution:

    1. We want to sing the love of danger, the habit of energy and rashness.

    2. The essential elements of our poetry will be courage, audacity and revolt.

    3. ... We want to exalt movements...

  8. 4 D’Annunzio and the Antidemocratic Fantasy
    (pp. 77-113)

    Like MarinettisMafarka le futuriste,D’Annunzio’s 1895Le vergini delle rouetakes as its theme the generation of a superhuman son.¹ Claudio Cantelmo, the novel’s protagonist, sets out to choose, from among three sisters, a genitrix who will bear him an exceptional son. The theme in itself makes the novel an easy target for quick identifications of pseudo-Nietzscheansuperuomismowith protofascism, but surrounding the fairy-tale princesses are politically explicit declamations that make it all the easier for intellectual historians and literary critics to find the literary roots of fascism in this fin de siècle text. A text about the making...

  9. 5 Fascism as Discursive Regime
    (pp. 114-156)

    In the most important of several speeches given on the eve of the March on Rome, the 1922 “Discorso di Udine,” Benito Mussolini paints the relation between fascism and rhetoric as antagonistic:

    Con il discorso che intendo pronunciare innanzi a voi, io faccio una eccezione alia regola che mi sono imposta; quella, cioè, di limitare al minimo possibile le manifestazioni della mia eloquenza. Oh, se fosse possibile strangolarla, come consigliava un poeta, 1’eloquenza verbosa, prolissa, inconcludente, democratica, che ci ha deviate per così lungo tempo! Io sono quindi sicuro, od almeno mi lusingo di avere questa speranza, che voi non...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 157-182)
  11. Index
    (pp. 183-188)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 189-189)