Download e-book for kindle: Byron and the Rhetoric of Italian Nationalism by Arnold Anthony Schmidt (auth.)

By Arnold Anthony Schmidt (auth.)

ISBN-10: 0230107826

ISBN-13: 9780230107823

ISBN-10: 1349379654

ISBN-13: 9781349379651

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Extra resources for Byron and the Rhetoric of Italian Nationalism

Sample text

Italians held different ideas. After the failure of the Neapolitan revolution in 1821, Vincenzo Cuoco observed that rebellions will not succeed unless citizens understood how their active involvement would change the status quo (Avitabile 5); romantics believed that literature could instill that understanding. The authors who admired Byron saw literature as creating a national consciousness, and the repressive Austrian, Bourbon, and Papal governments must have agreed, because they persecuted these authors, who often paid the price of imprisonment or exile for their publications.

In fact, their falls resulted directly from their failure to maintain that balance of power. Frankly, Byron here ignores his own extensive readings of history to make a literary flourish. Surely he understood how increasingly centralized executive power corrupted a weakening Roman republic and enabled the rise of the emperor; or how the Venetian oligarchy failed because the declining executive power of the dogeship could not effectively counterbalance the ascending power of the Maggior Consiglio (Great Council) and the Consiglio Dei Dieci (the Ten); how the Cromwellian Commonwealth turned into a military dictatorship when the powerful executive stifled legislative opposition.

The nationalist yearnings of the Risorgimento, which precipitated this series of revolts and wars, found their ideological inspiration in eighteenth-century reforms. During the Enlightenment, progressive ideas gained adherents in Italy, as they did throughout Europe. Italian reformers advanced the same social and economic agenda urged elsewhere: an end to feudal privileges and censorship, fairer taxation, curtailed clerical power, secular education, standardized customs duties, as well as political and legal changes.

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Byron and the Rhetoric of Italian Nationalism by Arnold Anthony Schmidt (auth.)


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