Dante and the Creation of the <i>poeta vate</i> in Nineteenth-Century Italy

Antonella Braida

in Dante in the Long Nineteenth Century

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199584628
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739095 | DOI:
Dante and the Creation of the poeta vate in Nineteenth-Century Italy

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This chapter focuses on the role of the artist in the creation of myths of and for the nation in post-unification Italy. In this process, the artist is both legislator and product of his age: the celebration of the new common history creates at once the myth of the nation and that of the poeta vate — as the ‘poet laureate’ was called in Italy. In nineteenth-century Italy political unification was accompanied by the consequent task of nation-building; this process turned out to be far more complex than anticipated and involved politicians and intellectuals alike in the common task of producing myths, symbols, and historical narratives for the newborn nation. Italian historians have investigated the strategies used in nineteenth-century Italy to create a sense of belonging to the newborn Italian kingdom. While analysing the new approaches to Dante that emerged from the process of nation-building, the chapter challenges teleological interpretations of ‘ideological’ uses of Dante and leaves space for Italian intellectuals' more complex and individual approaches to his work.

Keywords: artist; Dante; post-unification Italy; nation-building; poet laureate

Chapter.  7553 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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