The Italian Risorgimento seen from Paris: the figure of the post-­unification brigand in Le Monde illustré

Journal title SOCIETÀ E STORIA
Author/s Ida Porfido
Publishing Year 2023 Issue 2023/181 Language Italian
Pages 29 P. 503-531 File size 938 KB
DOI 10.3280/SS2023-181006
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The essay illustrates the French dimension of the image of the brigand in the second half of the 19th century, through writing and graphic description strategies typical of a new press capable of having an impact on public opinion. In particular, the journal examined, «Le Monde illustré» (of which the author analyses the 714 issues between 1857 and 1870) is the epitome of both the ‘political’ demotion of the Fren-­ ch brigand from romantic hero to humorous character, and of the representation of the Italian brigand as a figure reminiscent to backward realities not only in Europe, but also in North Africa (Algeria, Morocco) and America (Mexico). The author argues that the national-­popular declination, between the grotesque and the macchiet-­ tistico, of the ambiguous figure of the brigand, endowed with an extraordinary semantic ductility, prevents the transalpine newspaper from understanding the complexity of the Italian Risorgimento even in the most tragic phase of the political-­war conflict.

Keywords: figure of the brigand, social history, representation in the imagination, 19th century French press, typification, Italian Risorgimento.

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Ida Porfido, Il Risorgimento italiano visto da Parigi: la figura del brigante postunitario in «Le Monde illustré» in "SOCIETÀ E STORIA " 181/2023, pp 503-531, DOI: 10.3280/SS2023-181006