Greece in Italy: Cultural Intersections from the 1821 Greek Revolution to the Economic Crisis of the 2010s

The project sets out to study the figures, works and cultural relations that have helped form the idea of modern Greece in the Italian peninsula over the last two centuries. The chronological research framework (1821-2020) is defined in relation to significant historical phenomena and events: Winckelmann's neoclassicism, the birth of the European philhellenic movement, the beginning of the war against the Ottoman Empire in 1821 and subsequent recognition of the Independence of the Kingdom of Greece in 1832 emerge as key factors in Italy’s interest towards the contemporary Greek world from the first decades of the 19th century on. Greece’s ancient tradition, its geographical proximity to Italy and the enduring historical, cultural, political and economic relations between the two countries are the backdrop against which Italy constructed its image of modern Greece, an image that remained in constant flux over the two hundred years in question. It is thus fundamental that all factors contributing to this vision, throughout the whole period, should be studied and analysed. Preliminary bibliographic research indicates four main fields of influence in Italy’s construction of the idea of Greece and, consequently, these four primary fields will constitute the main areas into which the research will be articulated: 1. the history of modern Greek literature in Italy (translations, critical contributions, reviews, articles published in journals and newspapers), an area in which the role played by translations and modern Greek studies in general will be investigated in relation to the Italian perception of modern Greece. The material will be retrieved through the Osservatorio Neogreco (ON), the first electronic database to collate information on Italian-language publications related to modern Greek culture, created by the PI of this project and his collaborators in 2020; 2. the interaction in the early 19th century between the study of ancient Greek and the emergence of interest in modern Greek language and culture; 3. the works of selected 19th- and 20th-century mediators who contributed significantly to the image of modern Greece in Italy (A. Moustoxydis, U. Foscolo, L. Muzzi, G. Arcangeli, B. Lavagnini, G. Zoras, F. Pontani and M. Vitti); 4. the contribution of the Greek-speaking minority in Southern Salento to the philhellenic cause, from the second half of the 19th century, with specific emphasis on the work of V. D. Palumbo, P. Stomeo and R. Aprile.

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