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This important new book considers many of the ways in which national identity was imagined, implemented and contested within Italian culture before, during and after the period of Italian unification in the mid-nineteenth century. Taking a fresh approach towards national icons cherished by both Left and Right, the collection's authors examine the complex interaction between a perceived need for national identity and the fragmented nature of the Italian peninsula. In so doing, they draw on examples from a wide range of artistic and cultural media.The book opens with an introduction which defines the case of the Italian 'Risorgimento' and places it within a large context of European and global nation-building and nationalism. Authors discuss how episodes from the distant past were used by nineteenth- and twentieth-century artists, musicians, and writers to recreate narratives of nationhood, as well as how the problem of Italian identity was before and during the Risorgimento. The question of who belonged in the new Italy, who remained outsiders, and how social and sexual differences entered into defining these groups is also addressed. The book concludes with an analysis of twentieth-century attempts to appropriate and reforge the 'spirit' of the Risorgimento, under Fascism and in our own time.