America in Italian Culture: The Rise of a New Model of Modernity, 1861-1943 (Hardcover)

America in Italian Culture: The Rise of a New Model of Modernity, 1861-1943 By Guido Bonsaver Cover Image
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When America began to emerge as a world power at the end of the nineteenth century, Italy was a young nation, recently unified. The technological advances brought about by electricity and the combustion engine were vastly speeding up the capacity of news, ideas, and artefacts to travel internationally. Furthermore, improved literacy and social reforms had produced an Italian working class with increased time, money, and education. At the turn of the century, if Italy's ruling elite continued the tradition of viewing Paris as a model of sophistication and good taste, millions of lowly-educated Italians began to dream of America, and many bought a transatlantic ticket to migrate there.

By the 1920s, Italians were encountering America through Hollywood films and, thanks to illustrated magazines, they were mesmerised by the sight of Manhattan's futuristic skyline and by news of American lifestyle. The USA offered a model of modernity which flouted national borders and spoke to all. It could be snubbed, adored, or transformed for one's personal use, but it could not be ignored.

Perversely, Italy was by then in the hands of a totalitarian dictatorship, Mussolini's Fascism. What were the effects of the nationalistic policies and campaigns aimed at protecting Italians from this supposedly pernicious foreign influence? What did Mussolini think of America? Why were jazz, American literature, and comics so popular, even as the USA became Italy's political enemy? America in Italian Culture provides a scholarly and captivating narrative of this epochal shift in Italian culture.

About the Author

Guido Bonsaver, Professor of Italian Cultural History and Fellow, Pembroke College, University of Oxford Guido Bonsaver is Professor of Italian Cultural History at the University of Oxford and Fellow of Pembroke College. He studied at the universities of Bologna and Verona, and completed his PhD while teaching at Reading University. Before arriving at Oxford in 2003, he taught at the universities of Sussex, Kent, and Royal Holloway London. In 2012 he was appointed Ufficiale dell'Ordine al Merito della Repubblica by the Italian government in recognition of his contribution to Italian culture. He has collaborated with a variety of media outlets such as BBC radio and television channels, RAI radio and tv channels, and various specialist and generalist journals. His research work centres on Italy's post-Unification cultural history, with a particular interest in literature and cinema.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780198849469
ISBN-10: 019884946X
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication Date: February 10th, 2024
Pages: 576
Language: English