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By Ruth Ben-Ghiat

Ruth Ben-Ghiat's cutting edge cultural historical past of Mussolini's dictatorship is a provocative dialogue of the meanings of modernity in interwar Italy. Eloquent, pathbreaking, and deft in its use of a wide diversity of fabrics, this paintings argues that fascism appealed to many Italian intellectuals as a brand new version of modernity that may get to the bottom of the modern eu main issue in addition to long-standing difficulties of the nationwide earlier. Ben-Ghiat indicates that--at a time of fears over the erosion of nationwide and social identities--Mussolini offered fascism as a circulate that will permit fiscal improvement with out damage to social obstacles and nationwide traditions. She demonstrates that even supposing the regime mostly failed in its makes an attempt to remake Italians as paragons of a exceedingly fascist version of mass society, two decades of fascism did modify the panorama of Italian cultural existence. between more youthful intellectuals specifically, the dictatorship left a legacy of practices and attitudes that frequently persevered lower than varied political rubrics after 1945.

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Extra info for Fascist Modernities: Italy, 1922-1945

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To conform to other countries[,] . . to open a window on Europe, but in a provincial way. ” 58 This politics of display and appropriation proved successful for the regime in several ways. First, as Alvaro correctly perceived, it helped to assuage ingrained anxieties about modern Italy’s marginal status as a cultural power. The plethora of exhibitions also enabled the fascists to consolidate patronage relations, since writers, architects, scenographers, and artists of every type could compete for high-profile commissions.

Just what is it we’re doing here? ” Celebrated in the press as fascism’s next political and cultural elite, young intellectuals such as Brancati began their careers under a cloud of frustration. Born between 1905 and 1915, too late to have participated in World War I or the March on Rome, they felt out of place in a society that valorized martial virtues and conquest fantasies. Excluded from the collective memory of fascism’s past, they claimed a central place for themselves in the fashioning of fascism’s future.

Sec- Toward a Fascist Culture / 29 ond, a national inferiority complex, inherited from the liberal period, led many Italians to associate modernity with the achievements of more dominant nations. Taken together, these attitudes ensured that, ten years after the March on Rome, Italian modernity still consisted largely of “following the trends of German, French, or American modernity, ten years later: doing what is done abroad, but a bit later, a bit less, and (to use our muchloved adverb) moderately.

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