Paradox in Italy<sup>1</sup>

Wendy Griswold

in Regionalism and the Reading Class

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780226309224
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226309262 | DOI:
Paradox in Italy1

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This chapter looks at Italy, a country that presents a paradox: political, economic, and cultural regionalism are intense, yet literary regionalism is surprisingly weak. The Italian case reveals the types of structural and political filters that, despite favorable cultural conditions, can prevent literary regionalism from emerging. A variety of factors—the lack of a single cultural center, late literacy development, the economics of publishing, the universal ideologies of intellectuals in general and the cosmopolitanism of the literary elite in particular—all work against the development of regional literary cultures in Italy. Despite their personal local affinities, neither writers nor publishers nor readers find it in their interests to organize their literary practices along regional lines. This is why although Italians hold regionalism as an emotional attachment and produce individual regionalist writers, the Italian culture does not give rise to literature as a cultural movement or frame.

Keywords: cultural regionalism; literary regionalism; regional literary cultures; Italy; Italian culture; literature; literary practices

Chapter.  9115 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Sociology

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