Paola d'Andrea (University of Oslo)

Paola d'Andrea: Ad usum Novae Romae: two vates for Fascist Italy

This paper sheds some new light on the relatively recent topic of Classical Reception and Italian Fascism. It does so through the analysis of two interrelated case studies in which Latin, both as language and literature, plays a pivotal role in public material culture, as well as in the written literary medium.

First, the role of Gabriele D’Annunzio (1863–1938) will be assessed, both as the official vates of post-Unitarian Italy and the leader of the Free State on Fiume (1919), in his crafting Latin tags that were soon to infiltrate the phraseology of Fascism in its visual and material culture.

The second example will address a Neo-Latin ode to Mussolini (1928) published in Chile by (the today much less known) Ippolito Galante. Composed in alcaic metre, the text can be read, in many respects, as resulting from D’Annunzio’s pioneering aesthetic, targeting a highly cultivated readership at the intersection between the Italian expat community and the local elite.

Based on a semiotic approach, the presentation will show how the reusage and dissemination of Latin in the Fascist age resulted in a vague but highly evocative ‘aura’, upon which the regime rooted its propaganda machine. Particular aspects of ‘Fascist Latin’ will be examined, i.e. transition from an elite- to a mass-circulation; adaptability to different target audiences; communicative purposes. This will help us answering the question why this Latin exerted a long-term impact in Italian public culture well beyond the Fascist period, as it surfaces today in all sorts of contexts, from political lingo to social media, provoking opposed reactions.

One of a series of stamps issued in 1930 celebrating the bimillenary of Vergil's birth. Illustration:

The seminar will take place digitally via Zoom or physically with streaming via Zoom. A link to the meeting will be distributed via the seminar mailing list the day before. To be added to the mailing list or receive the link, please contact the organizer.


Tor Ivar Østmoe
Published Jan. 17, 2022 7:41 PM - Last modified Apr. 19, 2022 8:17 PM