Is an extended review of an important book published by Carlotta Sorba. This book underlines the role of melodrama - a form of popular theatre which emerged during the latter part of the 18th century in London and Paris - in the construction and diffusion of a ‘national discourse’. During the Restoration the emotional and narrative structures of melodrama spread throughout Italy. This process also involved other cultural forms: painting, history, fiction, all of which profoundly shaped the language and the imaginary of national-patriotic politics. The genre, which was accessible to large sectors of the urban population, took on a central role in the years from 1846-1849, a period notable for its ‘theatrical’ and ‘melodramatic’ characteristics.
Keywords: Teatro melodrammatico, Codici emozionali, Risorgimento, Carlotta Sorba