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Fascist Virilities

Rhetoric, Ideology, and Social Fantasy in Italy

Barbara Spackman

Publication Year: 2008

Exploring different conceptions of virility-as well as the reproductive fantasies they produce-in a selection of Italian political manifestos and literary writings, Fascist Virilities exposes the relation between fascist rhetoric and ideology. Here, Barbara Spackman looks at Italian fascism as a matter of discourse, with “virility” as the master code that articulates and melds its disparate elements. In Spackman’s analysis, fascist rhetoric binds together the elements of fascist ideology, with “virility” as the key. To reveal how this works, she traces the circulation of “virility” in the discourse of the Italian fascist regime and in the rhetorical practice of Mussolini himself. She tracks the appearance of virility in two of the sources of fascist rhetoric, Gabriele D’Annunzio and F. T. Marinetti, in the writings of the futurist Valentine de Saint Point and the fascist feminist Teresa Labriola, and in the speeches of Mussolini. A critical and timely contribution to the current reappraisal of fascist ideology, this book will interest anyone concerned with the relations among gender, sexuality, and fascist discourse. Fascist Virilities exposes the relation between rhetoric and ideology. Barbara Spackman looks at Italian fascism as a matter of discourse, with “virility” as the master code that articulates and melds its disparate elements. In her analysis, rhetoric binds together the elements of ideology, with “virility” as the key. To reveal how this works, Spackman traces the circulation of “virility” in the discourse of the Italian regime and in the rhetorical practices of Mussolini himself. She tracks the appearance of virility in two of the sources of fascist rhetoric, Gabriele D’Annunzio and F. T. Marinetti, in the writings of the futurist Valentine de Saint Point and the fascist feminist Teresa Labriola, and in the speeches of Mussolini. Barbara Spackman is associate professor of Italian at New York University.

Published by: University of Minnesota Press

Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

A University of California President's Research Fellowship in the Humanities and an Irvine Faculty Research Grant gave me the time and support I needed to complete the research and writing of this book. I am grateful as well to the American Academy in Rome for making my stay in Rome in the fall of 1992 a pleasant one. ...

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Preface

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pp. ix-xvi

This book treats Italian fascism as a discursive formation whose principal node of articulation is "virility." It argues that a knowledge of fascist ideology may be gained not through cataloguing the often ideologically incompatible elements or ideas that circulated in it, but rather through an analysis of the way in which those heterogeneous elements are articulated or bound together. ...

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1 Rhetorics of Virility: D'Annunzio, Marinetti, Mussolini, Benjamin

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pp. 1-33

Thus Carlo Emilio Gadda maliciously summarizes the fascist era in his novel Eros e Priapo (Eros and Priapo), by carrying the obsession with virility in fascist discourse to its limit: the virilization of woman herself. Gadda's aim is to ridicule fascist discourse by pointing to what he takes to be the absurdity of mixing and matching gender and sex: ...

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2 Fascist Women and the Rhetoric of Virility

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pp. 34-48

Perhaps no discursive regime so energetically enforced compulsory heterosexuality as did the fascist regime. Prolific mothers and virile men people its imaginary, while its rhetoric of virility collapses gender and sex, biologizing both. ...

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3 Mafarka and Son: Marinetti's Homophobic Economics

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pp. 49-76

In his essay "Fascist Ideology," the intellectual historian Zeev Sternhell has little trouble in characterizing the essential ideological import of F. T. Marinetti's futurism as fascist from start to finish, from 1909 to 1943: ...

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4 D'Annunzio and the Antidemocratic Fantasy

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pp. 77-113

Like Marinettis Mafarka le futuriste, D'Annunzio s 1895 Le vergini delle rocce takes as its theme the generation of a superhuman son.1 Claudio Cantelmo, the novel's protagonist, sets out to choose, from among three sisters, a genitrix who will bear him an exceptional son. ...

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5 Fascism as Discursive Regime

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pp. 114-156

In the most important of several speeches given on the eve of the March on Rome, the 1922 "Discorso di Udine," Benito Mussolini paints the relation between fascism and rhetoric as antagonistic: ...

Notes

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pp. 157-182

Index

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pp. 183-188


E-ISBN-13: 9780816687329
E-ISBN-10: 0816687323
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816627875

Page Count: 208
Publication Year: 2008

Edition: First edition

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Subject Headings

  • Masculinity -- Italy.
  • Rhetoric -- Political aspects -- Italy.
  • Fascism and sex -- Italy.
  • Fascism and women -- Italy.
  • Fascism -- Italy -- Psychological aspects.
  • Italy -- Politics and government -- 1922-1945.
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