How mid-19th century Italy saw America

250px-August_Pollak_Un_ballo_in_mascheraOne of the items now added to Routledge’s European Studies Open Access site is Axel Körner‘s ‘Masked faces: Verdi, Uncle Tom and the unification of Italy’, Journal of Modern Italian Studies 2013, 18 (2): 176-189). He explores Italian images of, and attitudes towards, the United States in the mid-19th century, focusing on two very popular and influential theatrical representations of life in the New World which left an important mark on Italian views of the United States during the later Risorgimento: Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Un ballo in maschera (1859), and Giuseppe Rota’s ballet Bianchi e neri (1852), based on Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. As Körner points out, Italians did not always look at life in America as a political, social or constitutional model; and if in the eyes of many Italians the United States became an epitome of modernity later in the nineteenth century, they did not necessarily identify with the particular model of modernity America stood for.

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