City and Nation in the Italian Unification: The National by Mahnaz Yousefzadeh

By Mahnaz Yousefzadeh

This ebook investigates the 1st nationwide competition of recent Italy, the 6th Centenary pageant of Dante Alighieri in 1865. The examine includes an historic reconstruction of the development in keeping with the invention of un-catalogued and unpublished records left via the organizers. The narrative poses the Centenary as a platform upon which another definition of Italian nationwide identification emerged, one in line with a background of Florentine Cultural nationalism that antagonistic the Piedmontese territorial nationalism.

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Additional resources for City and Nation in the Italian Unification: The National Festivals of Dante Alighieri (Italian and Italian American Studies)

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67 Florentines held that unification would best be characterized as the product of a longue durée of cultural nationalism, opposing this vision to the more modern and more recent territorial nationalism of Piedmont. The commemoration of Italian unity, therefore, should reinforce the first position (unification as the result of a lengthy cultural process) rather than bolster the second (unification as modern phenomenon). Herein lies the root of the rationale behind the Tuscan attempt to situate the birthday of the Florentine Dante in place of the Piedmontese Festa dello Statuto as the official festa of Italy, an issue that we shall now discuss.

88 A discussion of Dante’s place within general European letters lies outside the scope of the present study. Nonetheless, it is important to characterize further this “Dante” that, within Dionisotti’s outlook, Italians assimilated into a national cult. ”90 Victorians, to the contrary, embraced Kirkup’s young and active Dante, a more fitting representation of their enthusiasm for the Italian national cause. 92 The Victorians linked the revival of Dante and Italy with the rebirth of culture throughout Europe.

A provocative article by Gustavo Strafforello published in the Turinese Rivista Contemporanea suggested a Centenary in honor of Dante, “a poet who was a thousand times greater than Schiller” (“che fu poeta maggiore le mille volte di Schiller”25). While the proposal was publicized in other Italian journals, it came to no real fruition. The Centenary project was again picked up, in September 1863, by an “obscure Florentine,” Guido Corsini, 26 in an article in the Florentine journal La Gioventù. Likely influenced by the proposal of Professor Vitale De Tivoli, 27 Corsini demanded that the Florentine municipality approve of a celebration in Dante’s honor to take place in May 1865: In an upcoming public and solemn assembly, [the Municipality of Florence] should order that in the month of May 1865, Dante’s Centenary be celebrated in Florence in a manner worthy of Italy’s Athens and of the new era.

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