Italian Romanticism and the Americas: Reflections on History and Myth (Roundtable)

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Ernesto Livorni / University of Wisconsin - Madison
contact email: 

Several Romantic artists and, in particular, writers focused on historical events that brought the Americas on the forefront of the European imagination. Certainly, many Italian writers looked at what then still was the New World with a prismatic approach, either because they were writing on historical events that occurred in North America (especially the formation of the United States) or because they were looking at the independence wars fought in South America; either because the Americas offered shelter to the exiles, or because they provided new ground for thinking about the relationship between nature and culture. This roundtable aims at bringing together different perspectives that Italian intellectuals elaborated on the variety of solicitations coming from the Americas: struggle for independence as seen in the United States as well as in South American countries, with the consequential involvement of Italian patriots such as Giuseppe Garibaldi; consideration of the relationship between the vast natural landscapes offered by the Americas and the cultural perspective with which the European countries in general and Italy in particular looked at that continent; the myth-making process that elevated the historical events to emblems of emulation.

The roundtable looks at the theme of the NEMLA 2021 Conference as well as at the historical importance of Philadelphia, the city hosting the conference. While focusing on Italian Romanticism, the round table aims at a broader dialogue with other areas in the humanities on the implications of the conference’s theme.