Bahasa: chinese. This deepening contrast, as we shall see, will generate new patterns that will become dominant. The vision of a beautiful, fertile south is part of a conservative literary culture that virtually all elites of the day share. Foreigners travel south with vivid expectations. But the contrastive pattern is not just deployed as a ready-made form through which to register the distance between the literary expectation and the reality. It also is reproduced with pleasure, as we see in Casanova and others.
It is not simply a cognitive tool but a topos that invites visitation and reelaboration. It is, however, the emergent forms, which take shape after the mid-eighteenth century, that shall primarily concern me in the rest of this chapter. Yet here, too, periodization needs to be flexible. The vision of southern Italy as a liminal zone between Europe and Africa forms part of the consolidation of a Eurocentric world But there are antecedents for this perspective also.
And just as some of our brethren go to the Indies, in this India they could labor so as to render a service to God that is not inferior to that rendered by those who go down there: in fact there is a great need here to extirpate errors and superstitions and abuses of which there is an abundance. I am of the opinion that insofar as the Company [of Jesus] has probationary houses for its novices, these mountains of Sicily would be Indies for those who were eventually to travel down there.
I am certain in fact that whoever does well in these Indies of ours, here, will be fit for those across the ocean as well; likewise, he who finds it difficult to withstand these will certainly have a hard time in those others. The south is thus figured as a liminal space between Christian Europe and the other, New World, a threshold that, while geographically connected to the Old World, is figuratively linked to the New. They also reflect the new forms of imaginative geographical differentiation that the discovery of the New World enabled.
Nor was the use of this figure a passing fancy, for as the Jesuits expanded their activities in the south over the course of the next century, they continued to refer to it in a similar manner. One sign of this shift is that the analogies now will be made primarily with Africa, the Hottentots, Tahiti. What had radically changed, in other words, was the conceptualization of western civilization.
And, we need to add, it is increasingly in terms of bourgeois civilization that Europeans view the world as well. The representation of the south can thus be characterized as intertextual, interactive, and international. What we shall see repeatedly is that representations of the south produced by foreigners, southern Italians, and other Italians are informed by one another.
This is especially true with respect to the ways southerners shaped foreign and central-northern views. As both Augusto Placanica and Atanasio Mozzillo have argued, the accounts produced by foreign travelers to the south were heavily indebted to the opinions and perspectives of the southerners themselves, both in Naples and the provinces. Yet there was not, of course, an interdiscursive free-for-all; geography matters.
The main point is fairly obvious: namely, that the regional or national provenance of a writer shapes the manner in which he or she represents the south. An attention to the differentiated geography of textual production reveals markedly different ways of participating in the circulation and production of representations of the south. Simply put, foreigners and southerners were, for different reasons, Broadly speaking, foreigners were interested in southern Italy because it was different; southerners were interested because it was their patria to rule, administer, and document.
For both foreigners and southerners, the second half of the eighteenth century marks a dramatic increase in the number of representations produced. In the center-north no such proliferation of interest took place.
In the work produced by the major intellectual and artistic figures of the centernorth in the century before unification one finds a marked lack of interest in the south. Il Conciliatore, published in Milan between and , was one of the major cultural initiatives of the first quarter of the nineteenth century in Italy. To cite just the main areas of interest, there are articles and reviews dedicated to contemporary literature produced in Germany, France, England, Lombardy, Tuscany, and Piedmont; to the social and economic conditions in those places, as well as in America, India, China, Korea, and Greece; and there is a keen interest in classical Greece and Rome.
Naples, however, the most populous city and largest political unit on the peninsula, is nearly absent from the cultural horizon of this journal. One of the best-known responses to for This problem has received little serious attention. The fact that elites of the center-north rarely traveled south of Rome, as Romanelli and Meriggi note, is emblematic of a broader lack of interest; see Italia liberale and Breve storia 42, respectively. Why this lack of attention to the southern territories by northerners? Foreigners took an interest in the south because it had a climate, a history, and natural surroundings that fired their imaginations, not to mention that it provided opportunities for economic profit and, in the French case, political domination.
Southern elites were interested above all because it was their homeland. For central-northerners the south was evidently both too similar and too different, not foreign enough yet too remote to concern them intimately. Not until the second quarter of the nineteenth century, when central-northern Italians begin to seriously reconceive their patria in terms of Italy as a whole, do they begin to express a stronger political and cultural concern for the south as a place and people within their imagined national community. Let us then focus on those who were most interested in southern Italy in the century before unification: the foreigners and, more briefly at the end of this chapter, the southerners themselves.
It is they who provide us with the most passionate performance of the imaginative patterns that will establish themselves in mid-nineteenth-century Italian culture. With each passing decade the number of travelers to Naples and points beyond increased, as On the Sharp-Baretti quarrel, see Kirby —8.
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This quantitative increase developed hand in hand with a qualitative change. In the context of the economic expansion and the rise of bourgeois civilization in western-central Europe, visions of the south were transformed. They sought in the south peoples and places that were closer to the origins of humanity, understood both in terms of classical antiquity and nature, two terms that often overlapped in the late-eighteenthcentury European imagination.
To those with second thoughts about the supreme value of civilization, the savagery of the south could be seen as picturesque if not downright exotic. And a Tour through Egypt. Like the contemporary cult of travel literature with which it was closely related, Hellenism was characteristically, if by no means exclusively, a bourgeois phenomenon Blackbourn 35— What, more specifically, does he have to say about the current state of the country and its inhabitants?
Riedesel here provides a useful reminder that foreign writers are sometimes critical with regard to commonplaces about the south. The account of Egypt was not a part of the original German edition and thus reflects the editorial strategy of the English publishers. On German travelers to Sicily in the s, also see Beller. While taking into account the intellectual dimension, in the concluding passage Riedesel places the stress on the more material aspects of civilization, charting their movement along a north-south axis: I here conclude my few observations on these provinces of the kingdom of Naples, which of old formed separate kingdoms and powerful republics.
Now not even the shadow of their ancient grandeur is left. Power, commerce, naval and military sciences, and the improvement of human understanding, all seem to go northward. In time, the Europeans will be obliged to look for protection, education, manners and the cultivation of the intellectual powers in America. This way of seeing the south will become more prevalent among both foreigners and Italians with each passing decade.
This material aspect is underscored by the reference to America in the last line.
Modernity is northern but is spreading westward across the Atlantic as well. Or, more precisely, this is clearly the case with the area beyond Naples.
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But what about Naples itself? The issue here is more complex. In his Letters from an American Farmer of , St. Excellence in music and philosophy are in fact the two chief positive commonplaces about Neapolitan culture in eighteenth-century Europe. Yet at least since the Renaissance, reactions to Naples had been remarkably polarized, oscillating, as Mozzillo puts it, between visions of Arcadia and the apocalypse.
On the other there was a perhaps equally long tradition of denigrations of the Neapolitan masses, in particular the group of indigents known as the lazzari or lazzaroni. The notion that The success of the opera Partenope is emblematic in this regard. Napoletano Between the mid-eighteenth century and the mid-nineteenth century, views of Naples took a turn for the worse.
How is this to be explained? It is fair to say both that Naples changed and, most importantly, that perspectives on Naples changed. Already one of the largest and most densely populated cities in Europe in , Naples nearly doubled its population in the space of a century, increasing from , to , inhabitants, with particularly dramatic increases after see Aliberti 15—23; Petraccone, Napoli — While its growth would be more gradual in the s, its population would nevertheless approach , by Petraccone, Napoli — Perhaps even more important, however, were changes in foreign attitudes.
New bourgeois sensitivities to urban order, cleanliness, and privacy emerged in western Europe, reflected in the intensified reactions of visitors to the chaos, clamor, and filth of Naples. At the same time, beginning in the second half of the eighteenth century, southerners themselves began to take a harsher view of the city.
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Thus, if Naples was often figured as the last outpost of civilization going south, it was itself often experienced as a liminal zone. But in the s an appreciation for the wild side of Naples had yet to emerge. Sade traveled to Italy in July , fleeing under a pseudonym from The three notebooks he dedicates to Naples contain some of the most passionate denunciations of this city and kingdom ever written.
Sade certainly voices his disapproval with what he finds in other parts of Italy; the prostitutes in Florence and castrati in Rome profoundly dismay him. Sade cites Richard in the next line of the text. There is evidently little hope, but all is not lost. And, we might add, was this backward and barbarous Naples not a blessing for Sade himself, providing him with the setting for some of the most vivid scenes of debauchery in his Histoire de Juliette?
We could cite many more texts that articulate Naples and the south in terms of their distance from European civilization.
These texts emphasize the savagery, barbarism, brutishness, and backwardness of the south. Between the end of the eighteenth century and the mids the perception of this distance will only increase.
But let us now consider the other side of the coin. As the quote from Corinne suggested at the beginning of this section, the presence of such savagery in Europe, the proximity to Africa, was not only condemned but praised. An appreciation of the primitive, natural, less civilized aspects of Naples and the south will become increasingly common from the s on.
What is to be done in Naples but to live and enjoy life? What is it about Naples, specifically, that Dupaty appreciates? Certainly not its cultural and economic life. Neapolitan society is deficient as well.