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Tango0104 May 2017 4:29 p.m. PST

Dueling, Honor, and Masculinity in Modern Italy

""Steven C. Hughes brilliantly explores the multiple meanings and functions of the Italian duel from the Napoleonic era through the 1920s. His accomplishment is to identify, within what was a pan-European phenomenon, the contours of a specifically Italian dueling culture and, on this basis, to offer important new readings of Italian nation building and the dynamics of politics and society under the country's postunification liberal regime. The result is a fascinating analysis of the merging of liberal precepts and chivalric traditions in the building of modern Italy. . . . [T]his is an important and excellent piece of work that deserves a wide readership." —Journal of Modern History

"This work provides a valuable addition to our knowledge of post-Unification Italy and to its construction of Italian masculinity. It will be required reading for all students of Italian modernity." —American Historical Review

Following its creation as a country in 1861, Italy experienced a wave of dueling that led commentators to bemoan a national "duellomania" evidenced by the sad spectacle of a duel a day. Pamphlets with titles like "Down with the Duel" and "The Shame of the Duel" all communicated the passion of those who could not believe that a people supposedly just returned to the path of progress and civilization had wholeheartedly embraced such a "barbaric" custom. Yet these critics were consistently countered by sober-minded men of rank and influence who felt that the duel was necessary for the very health of the new nation…"
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