Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in History






Nationalism -- Italy, Press -- Italy, Theater -- Italy



Physical Description

1 online resource (4, iv, 125 leaves)


The research problem in Part I, the Press, concerns the question as to whether the Italian journals, 1830-1848, were efficacious in the formation of the Italian national spirit to the degree postulated by Professor Kent Roberts Greenfield in his thesis: Economics and Liberalism in the Risorgimento, Part II “Thought and Action,” subtitled “National Journalism, 1818-1848,“ (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1965). Specifically, this problem involves ascertaining: (1) who read the journals; (2 whether the contents of these journals were of interest to a significant portion of the population of the eight states; and (3) whether the journals were disseminated to any appreciable degree beyond the borders of the province where they were printed. Primary source material available for Part I is extremely scarce; however, as much as practicable the same sources as used and quoted by Professor Greenwood – bolstered by other reputable sources—are utilized in this thesis, so that whatever issue is taken with any of the Greenfield propositions as involving illogical inference, overstatement, etc., may be definitely traced. After investigation of Italian journalism of that period, it was concluded that the press operated under many diverse and blunting burdens which significantly curtailed the journals’ effectiveness in the formation of the Italian national spirit. The principal burdens include: (1) censorship, which forced the journalists to write “indirectly” and in “code;” (2) Illiteracy and general lack of educational opportunities; (3) dialectal diversity and no recognized national language; (4) political lethargy on the part of the masses; (5) regional antipathies that pitted province against province, even family against family. Therefore, in view of the above, and because of illogical inferences and overstatements revealed by comparison of statements made in Greenfield’s thesis, many of his positive claims concerning the journals and their role in the formation of the Italian national spirit are rejected; to that extent the Greenfield thesis is enervated. The research problem concerning the Italian theatre (which includes both tragedy and opera) involves determining the degree of efficacy of the theatre in the formation of the Italian national spirit, 1830-1848. Specifically, the study involves as investigation of the hardship under which the theatre operated. These include: (1) one form or another of censorship; (2) theatre and opera houses were required for performances and these were found only in the cities where a minority of the population resided; (3) opportunities for performances were seasonal most of the time. As much as practicable primary source material of scripts and libretti was used, as well as other source material from noted authors in the field. The theatre has an immediate, direct appeal, and to understand and enjoy its works does not necessarily require literacy or a sophisticated educational background; rather, it demands on the part of the audience an intensity of feeling, and an acute, emotional, passionate response, qualities which have always appeared to be part of the make-up of the Italian people. Therefore: (1) in view of the above; (2) because the subject matter of many plays and operas was easily identifiable with the conditions in Italy, 1830-1848; (3) because of the may demonstrations that follow theatrical performances; and (4) since diverse political slogans, phrases, etc., found their inspiration in theatrical works, it seems evident that the theatre was a significant factor in the formation of the Italian national spirit, 1830-1848.


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Portland State University. Dept. of History

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