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Byron and the Rhetoric of Italian Nationalism

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Making extensive use of untranslated texts, Byron and the Rhetoric of Italian Nationalism analyzes the incorporation of Byron's life and works into Italian political discourse during the risorgimento, unification, and the two world wars. Italian authors appreciated his celebration of liberty and nationalism so much that between 1818 and 1948, they referred to Byron more than to any other non-Italian poet. Arnold Anthony Schmidt explores the intellectual milieu of Byron's Italian years, his participation in Grand ...

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Overview

Making extensive use of untranslated texts, Byron and the Rhetoric of Italian Nationalism analyzes the incorporation of Byron's life and works into Italian political discourse during the risorgimento, unification, and the two world wars. Italian authors appreciated his celebration of liberty and nationalism so much that between 1818 and 1948, they referred to Byron more than to any other non-Italian poet. Arnold Anthony Schmidt explores the intellectual milieu of Byron's Italian years, his participation in Grand Tour and salon culture, his influence on Italian Classicists and Romantics, and his importance in constructing Italy's nationality identity.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Most books on Byron's life in Italy, or on the writing he did there, or what we may call his Italian afterfame are inevitably incomplete. This study covers a huge range of subjects and is informative and groundbreaking on just about everything it takes up. I feel I learned from every page. - John Clubbe, President of the International Byron Society in presenting the Elma Dangerfield award

"Arnold Anthony Schmidt's study shows anglophone readers the crucial if not paradoxical role played by the Byron myth in the Risorgimento. In Greece, nationalism grew from the Christian identity of the peoples ruled by Turks. In Italy, however, religion fragmented oppositional politics, and Byronic Romanticism highlighted the differences between secularist and Catholic liberalism. Byron was denounced as 'a curse to the whole of Europe' by the Catholic theologian Vincenzo Gioberti, who strenuously opposed the poet's canonization by the Risorgimento . . . there is much to be grateful for in this original and scholarly study." - The Times Literary Supplement

"Arnold Anthony Schmidt's Byron and the Rhetoric of Italian Nationalism goes a long way toward elucidating the many aspects of Byron's immersion in Italian life. As much social and cultural history as literary criticism, it manifests an impressive range of reading and allusions . . . Historical and contextual scholarship at its best.'—Wordsworth Circle

"A rewarding, well-written and important contribution to Byron studies." - Byron Jourbanal

"Presenting historical and literary material in a concise, readable style...the combination of careful research and perceptive criticism makes this book a valuable addition to Byron studies and to our understanding of the promise and the problems of Italian nationalism." - Italian Quarterly

"Covers an impressively wide range of important materials and authors and brings into sharp focus the complex ideological underpinnings which beset the discourses of the recipients of Byron's myth." - Nineteenth-Century Contexts

"Schmidt's book shows with impressive detail and thorough argument that the mythical image of Byron was as important to the development of the Italian nationalist ideal as it had been to the Greek. From Pellico via Cavour and Garibaldi to (whisper it) Mussolini himself, Byron's preparedness to sacrifice himself for Italian freedom and nationhood was an example to them all. A tour-de-force of documentation and analysis."—Peter Cochran, Cambridge

"Schmidt's Byron and the Rhetoric of Italian Nationalism is a fascinating and expertly-researched addition to our understanding of Byron not just as a British Romantic poet but as an international cultural phenomenon. Positioning Byron in the context of European liberal nationalism, Schmidt demonstrates how although in Britain Byron's scandalous lifestyle and provocative writings tended to overshadow his liberal leanings, in Italy he became an inspiration to the emergent nationalist movement…The book will be of value not just to Byron scholars but to anyone interested in the cultural impact of Romanticism."—Clare A. Simmons, Department of English, The Ohio State University

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Arnold Anthony Schmidt is Professor of English at the California State University, Stanislaus. His articles on Byron, Conrad, Godwin, Scott, Mary Shelley, and Wordsworth have appeared in such venues as the Byron Jourbanal, Jourbanal of Anglo-Italian Studies, Nineteenth-Century Contexts, and The Wordsworth Circle, as well as in the anthologies Fictions of the Sea and Beyond the Roots: The Evolution of Conrad’s Ideology & Art

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xi

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction 1

1 Byron and Italy 11

2 Byron and the Risorgimento 61

3 Crimes and Punishments 93

4 Don Juan 141

Conclusion: Byron's Legacy 179

Notes 187

Works Cited 191

Index 203

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