RIALL Lucy, Under the Volcano: Empire and Revolution in a Sicilian Town
Description: From the Publishers:
During the momentous events that shook Italy in 1860 as the nation was unified, there was a murderous riot in the Sicilian town of Bronte on the slopes of Mount Etna. Thereafter, Bronte became a symbol - of the limits of the liberal Risorgimento and of the persistence of foreign domination: descendants of Admiral Horatio Nelson had the largest landholding in the town and the British were said to have put pressure on Garibaldi to crush the uprising, which his lieutenant did with brutality.
Lucy Riall has used the discovery of a new archive to explore much larger themes of this episode. Relaying an often brutal tale of poverty, injustice, and mismanagement, her narrative also opens windows onto the true meaning of the British presence. Bronte's story becomes one that is also about Britain's policy towards Italy and Europe in the nineteenth century, and about colonial rule overseas in the age of Empire. It shows what happened when these two different aspects of British power bumped into each other in one Sicilian town.
Place and publisher: Oxford: Oxford University Press
Date of publication: 2013
Number of pages: 296
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From the publishers:
This book provides new insights into the history of Italy's long Risorgimento, by tracing the entanglements of the Mazzinian "international". This informal group of men and women crossed the boundary of the Channel and the boundary of class to speak a common language and share a radical ideal: Giuseppe Mazzini's vision of a unified, republican Italy. Published in the radical press, the exile's writings on democracy, education, association and citizenship inspired both Oxford social reformers and self-improving artisans gathering in provincial reading rooms, co-operative societies, republican clubs and educational institutes: for them republican Italy became a transnational dream. Indeed, when Italy was unified under a constitutional monarch in 1861, British Mazzinians were bitterly disappointed. Setting off for Italy on their first "co-operative tour" in 1888, East London workers embarked on an educational pilgrimage, dotted with Mazzinian landmarks. Despite the fin de siècle crisis, Victorian radicals' enduring faith in Italy's democratic future remained steadfast. Indeed, when Fascists subsequently appropriated Mazzini's national dream, post-Victorian Mazzinians would unequivocally voice their support for Italian anti-Fascists, who championed the principles of global democracy. Drawing on a wide range of material, the author adds a crucial new dimension to the history of Victorian radicalism in Britain, and to the "new history of the Risorgimento".
Marcella Pellegrino Sutcliffe is a Research Fellow of Clare Hall, University of Cambridge.
Place and publisher: London: Royal Historical Society
Date of publication: 2014
Number of pages: 200
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