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The Italian Risorgimento and Sicilian Popular Balladry: The Problem of ‘Deep Images’ and Popular Reception

Kehoe, Ben

European History Quarterly, April 2016, Vol.46(2), pp.238-261 [Periódico revisado por pares]

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  • Título:
    The Italian Risorgimento and Sicilian Popular Balladry: The Problem of ‘Deep Images’ and Popular Reception
  • Autor: Kehoe, Ben
  • Assuntos: Giuseppe Garibaldi ; Italian Risorgimento ; National Discourses ; Oral Balladry ; Popular Culture ; Salvatore Salomone-Marino ; Sicily ; History & Archaeology
  • É parte de: European History Quarterly, April 2016, Vol.46(2), pp.238-261
  • Descrição: The recent cultural history of the Italian Risorgimento has claimed that it was a ‘mass movement’ which affected the lives of a far greater number of soon-to-be Italians than traditional revisionist and Marxist narratives have assumed. This new history has, however, left certain questions unanswered. There has still been little attempt to explore popular receptions of national discourses, and what Risorgimento politics meant to the mass of ‘ordinary' people who lived through these seismic changes. This paper seeks to explore the ways in which one particular Risorgimento audience – the rural and urban illiterate of the province of Palermo – responded to, and attempted to make sense of, national-patriotic discourses which were articulated through ephemeral street literature and the oratory of Giuseppe Garibaldi in Palermo. This research makes use of the textual transcriptions of popular oral balladry, collected and published by Sicilian folk-scholars at the end of the nineteenth century, to investigate how the people of Palermo received and internalized discourses on Italian nationhood. An analysis of the language of these song-texts reveals that much of the imagery and symbolism of Italian nationhood, elaborated through various discursive practices, was rebuffed and the traditional, familiar idiom of popular culture was employed in the representation of the events of 1860. This paper will propose that oral culture possessed its own internal and autonomous set of images and narrative features, and that people’s receptions of official-patriotic discourses were shaped by the familiar descriptive norms of popular balladry.
  • Idioma: Inglês

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