By Ruth Ben-Ghiat

Ruth Ben-Ghiat's cutting edge cultural heritage 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 large diversity of fabrics, this paintings argues that fascism appealed to many Italian intellectuals as a brand new version of modernity that will get to the bottom of the modern eu quandary in addition to long-standing difficulties of the nationwide previous. Ben-Ghiat indicates that-at a time of fears over the erosion of nationwide and social identities-Mussolini provided fascism as a circulation that may permit financial improvement with no damage to social obstacles and nationwide traditions. She demonstrates that even if the regime principally failed in its makes an attempt to remake Italians as paragons of a highly fascist version of mass society, two decades of fascism did regulate the panorama of Italian cultural existence. between more youthful intellectuals specifically, the dictatorship left a legacy of practices and attitudes that frequently endured lower than diverse political rubrics after 1945. Illustrations: 17 b/w images

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Additional resources for Fascist Modernities: Italy, 1922-1945 (Studies on the History of Society and Culture, 42) (Paperback)

Sample text

Bottai and his Critica fascista group, in particular, had long argued that fascism’s survival depended on its ability to have younger Italians identify their interests with those of the state. 36 If the strategy of “making way for youth” (far largo ai giovani) did not lead to any significant changes in administrative personnel, it did restructure the field of fascist cultural debate. Starting in 1930, the government authorized the publication of a slew of independent youth reviews that denounced the continued hegemony of liberal-era arts and letters and advanced sincere, if often incoherent, programs for cultural modernization in Italy.

40 This taste for the concrete was advanced by Rationalist architects who touted their streamlined designs as the embodiment of fascism’s constructive and anti-ideological ethos. Concurrently, young film critics championed a “cinematography of real life,” and their peers in music and literature called for “antirhetorical” compositional and writing styles. The moral connotations ascribed to this barebones aesthetic disposition were conveyed by the twenty-eight-year-old historian Delio Cantimori, who informed older Italians that “what counts for us is to be sincere and serious, to refuse to mystify our surroundings with beautiful words, to look at reality as it is, without fictions or hypocrisy, 32 / Toward a Fascist Culture without resorting to such cowardly cover-ups as blue skies, pink clouds, thrones, dominations, and little cherubs: beautiful but false.

Romano Bilenchi, Mario Pannunzio, Indro Montanelli, and many others who would occupy prominent positions in postwar culture got their first experiences as journalists and public intellectuals in these reviews, which were read with interest and sometimes suspicion by government officials. 37 Several causes united this generation and would influence its activities in the coming years. First and foremost was the embrace of cultural politics as a solution to and compensation for limitations on political activities.

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