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Italy's SeaEmpire and Nation in the Mediterranean, 1895-1945$
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Valerie McGuire

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781800348004

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781800348004.001.0001

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Nationalists and the Mediterranean in the Liberal Era

Nationalists and the Mediterranean in the Liberal Era

Chapter:
(p.37) Chapter One Nationalists and the Mediterranean in the Liberal Era
Source:
Italy's Sea
Author(s):

Valerie McGuire

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781800348004.003.0002

Studies of Italian empire in the Liberal era period tend to emphasize the campaigns to establish settlement colonies in East Africa. But Italian resettlement in East Africa entwined with the desire to achieve some form of empire in the Mediterranean basin, where hundreds of thousands of emigrants resided under the flags of the British and French empires. This chapter examines writing by well-known nationalists of the Liberal era—Gabriele D’Annunzio, Giuseppe Sergi, Edmondo De Amicis, Enrico Corradini, Luigi Federzoni and Orazio Pedrazzi—to show how representations of the Mediterranean revived the constitutive link between nation and empire that had been a hallmark of the nineteenth-century wars of the Italian unification. Nationalists inscribed the region with special meaning, an ‘unadulterated cultural significance,’ that was rooted in the memory of Greco-Roman empire and Renaissance histories of Venetian and Genoese maritime expansion. But these authors also navigated proximity to the African continent and the Levant (or Ottoman Near East) imagining it to be a dangerous frontier of national and racial degeneration. This paradoxical condition of fabled self and dangerous Other formed the basis for Mediterranean-ism, Italy’s own version of Orientalism as adapted for its nationalist goals.

Keywords:   Nationalism, Nation, Race, Orientalism, Ottoman, Levant, Italy, Greece, Aegean

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