Antifascisms: Cultural Politics in Italy, 1943-46: Benedetto Croce and the Liberals, Carlo Levi and the "Actionists"

Antifascisms: Cultural Politics in Italy, 1943-46: Benedetto Croce and the Liberals, Carlo Levi and the "Actionists"

Antifascisms: Cultural Politics in Italy, 1943-46: Benedetto Croce and the Liberals, Carlo Levi and the "Actionists"

Antifascisms: Cultural Politics in Italy, 1943-46: Benedetto Croce and the Liberals, Carlo Levi and the "Actionists"

Synopsis

"This book is an in-depth analysis of three of the most crucial years in twentieth-century Italian history, the years 1943-46. After more than two decades of a Fascist regime and a disastrous war experience during which Italy changed sides, these years saw the laying of the political and cultural foundations for what has since become known as Italy's First Republic. Drawing on texts from the literature, film, journalism, and political debate of the period, Antifascisms offers a thorough survey of the personalities and positions that informed the decisions taken in this crucial phase of modern Italian history." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

After more than half a century of intense speculation it is hardly surprising that the historiography of the Italian Resistance has resembled, and continues to resemble, an explosive minefield of competing interpretations that see it now as postwar Italy's original virtue, now as its original sin. In view of the crucial importance assigned to the anti-Fascist struggle as the foundation on which Italy's first republic was to be built, it is no surprise that the Resistance legacy came under the closest scrutiny from opposing ideological standpoints.

While its allies have tended to appropriate the anti-Fascist movement's legacy, often as a means of national legitimation or as a powerful trope with which to shore up the many breaches in postwar Italy's often fragile political society, its detractors, taking the opposite tack, have cast a shadow over the Resistance's counterproductive role in the formation of Italy's postwar national identity. Scholars like Renzo De Felice, for example, have asked important questions as to why an event that involved only a minority of Italians should be afforded such foundational status in the postwar period. In the same vein, other, more politically minded commentators, especially in the late 1980s and 1990s, have availed themselves of the Resistance legacy to expose what they see as the source of the Italian first republic's fatal original flaw, its vulnerable weak point, so as to apply pressure in order to delegitimate it. This is a delegitimation that has taken the form of a reinscription of Partisans, particularly the Communist ones, from brave patriots to machine-gun-toting delinquents intent on personal and ideological vendettas under the cover of the respectability afforded by the Resistance.

In a like manner, intellectuals sympathetic to Alleanza nazionale (National Alliance), a political group born in the mid-1990s out of the legacy of the Movimento sociale italiano (Italian Social Movement), the self-proclaimed heirs to Mussolini's Nazi-supported Salò Republic, have also sought relegitimation by way of the Resistance. In this case, however, driven by the need to relegitimate . . .

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