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Murder and Media in the New Rome : The Fadda Affair - T. Simpson

Murder and Media in the New Rome

The Fadda Affair

Hardcover Published: 19th January 2011
ISBN: 9780230108363
Number Of Pages: 264

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This book explores a sensational crime and trial that took place in Rome in the late 1870s, when the bloody killing of a war hero triggered a national spectacle. A young southern wife’s murder of her impotent soldier husband exploded into the first great “media circus” in the new nation of Italy. The trial of the widow and her acrobat lover shocked the young nation not only with its gruesome details, but also because masses of women flocked to the court, took sides and heatedly reacted to testimony, as a new generation of newspapers exploited the scandal to enchant an untapped readership. Largely ignored by historians, the Fadda Affair, as it was called, crucially shaped the young nation’s self-image, but it still resists reduction to historiographical formula, even as its raucous messiness presages the postmodern centrality of performance and the displacement of substance by sensation.

"In this imaginatively yet scrupulously researched study, Simpson turns an ephemeral scandal of adultery and murder into a tool with which to reconstruct the intersecting, evolving realms of a national public life which collided in early post-Risorgimento Italy. The so-called 'Fadda Affair' becomes a prism through which are reflected (among other things) trial by jury all'italiana, the emergence of popular scandal-mongering journalism, the myths and social realities of the Italian military, the role - or lack thereof - of women in the public sphere, the rise of the circus as popular entertainment, and the violent clash of North and South. Simpson tells his tale brilliantly and wisely, and in the process gives us a unique new window onto the disconcerting spectacle of Italy, and Italians, in the making." - Albert Russell Ascoli, Terrill Distinguished Professor, University of California, Berkeley

"Supported by meticulous research and insightful analysis of varied contemporary sources, Murder and Media in the New Rome is an informed study of 'the first great media circus' in the new Italian state. Simpson examines the Fadda trial as the stage where participants and audience enacted wider social, cultural, and gender conflicts. This book offers a fascinating study of how numerous interpreters such as painters, novelists, poets, lawyers, and especially the new media protagonists - the newspaper reporters - depicted these conflicts in varying and meaningful ways. Written in an eminently readable prose-style that captures vividly the drama of murder and its aftermath, this book provides an original discussion of a now-forgotten event that gathered mass attention in late nineteenth-century Italy. In doing so, it furnishes a glimpse of a whole period of Italian history that is generally overlooked in the English-speaking world." - Cristina Della Coletta, Professor of Italian, University of Virginia

List of Illustrationsp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
The Crime and Its Coveragep. 9
Journalism in Rome after National Unificationp. 27
Chronology of a Circus Trialp. 55
The People, the Killer, and the Weeping Widowp. 69
In Corte d'Assisep. 97
King and Quartermaster: The Battles of San Martinop. 117
"To Liberate Italy from the Italians"p. 133
Poor Giovanni Faddap. 149
A New War Experimentp. 171
Charactersp. 183
Conclusionp. 205
Notesp. 209
Bibliographyp. 235
Indexp. 255
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780230108363
ISBN-10: 0230108369
Series: Italian and Italian American Studies (Palgrave Hardcover)
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 264
Published: 19th January 2011
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.08 x 14.48  x 1.78
Weight (kg): 0.41
Edition Number: 1