New book by Cambridge Scholars provides comprehensive overview of homosexuality in nineteenth century Italy

Cambridge Scholars Publishing is pleased to announce the forthcoming publication of Homosexuality in Italian Literature, Society, and Culture, 1789-1919, edited by Lorenzo Benadusi, Paolo L. Bernardini, Elisa Bianco and Paola Guazzo.

About the Book

Homosexuality, bisexuality, transvestitism, and trans-genders represented new ideas, customs, and mentalities which shattered nineteenth-century Italy. At this time, Italy was a state in the making, with a growing population, a fading aristocracy, and new urban classes entering the scene. While still an extremely Catholic country, atheism and secularization slowly undermined the old, traditional morality, with literature and poetry endorsing innovative fashions coming from abroad. Laxity mixed with perversion, while new forms of sexuality mirrored the immense changes taking place in a society that, since time immemorial, was dominated by the Church and by a rigid class system. This was a revolution, parallel to the political movements that brought about the Unification of Italy in 1861, and was tormented, intense, and occasionally tragic. This collection of essays offers a rather comprehensive overview of this phenomenon. Personalities and places, ideas and novels, poetry and tragedy, law and customs, are the subject of ten essays, written by leading international experts in Italian history, the history of sexuality, literature and poetry. The Italian nineteenth century is a time of a number of rapid changes, visible and invisible revolutions, often given less attention than the unification process. This book makes a substantial contribution to Italian studies and modern European history.

Homosexuality in Italian Literature, Society, and Culture, 1789-1919 is due for publication in the first half of 2017. The list of chapters and contributors can be seen below.

Introduction: In the Shadow of J. J. Winckelmann: Homosexuality in Italy in the Long Nineteenth Century (Lorenzo Benadusi, Paolo Bernardini, Paola Guazzo)

Chapter 1: Role Playing: Gender Ambiguity, Criminology and Popular Culture in Italy between the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century (Laura Schettini)

Chapter 2: Pathologies and Eroticism: Paolo Mantegazza’s Ambiguous Reflections on Female Same-Sex Sexuality (Charlotte Ross)

Chapter 3: “Mi morse le labra, bevette il mio respire”: Vampirism and Literary Lesbianism in Liberal Italy (Maya De Leo)

Chapter 4: What Fairies have to tell our Stories (Giovanni Dall’Orto)

Chapter 5: Male Homosexuality in Nineteenth Century Italy: A Juridicial View (Barbara Pozzo)

Chapter 6: “Amori et dolori sacrum”: Canons, Differences and Figures of Gender Identity in the Cultural Panorama of Travellers in Capri between the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century (Eugenio Zito)

Chapter 7: Taormina and the Strange Case of Baron Von Gloeden (Mario Bolognari)

Chapter 8: Violet Edmonstone and Vita Sackville-West: Italy’s Backstage Role in a Psychologically Sadistic Lesbian Relationship in the Early Twentieth Century (Ilaria E. M. Borjigid Bohm)

Chapter 9: The Disappearance of the “Third Sex”? Fear of Effeminacy and the Rediscovery of Virile Homosexuality during the Great War (Lorenzo Benadusi)

Appendix: L’inconsistente omosessualità di Pinocchio (Antonio Castronuovo)

About the Editors

Lorenzo Benadusi teaches Contemporary History at the University of Bergamo, Italy. His publications include The Enemy of the New Man. Homosexuality in Fascist Italy (2012) and Ufficiale e gentiluomo. Virtù civili e valori militari in Italia 1896-1918 (2015).

Paolo L. Bernardini teaches Early Modern and Modern Contemporary History at the University of Insubria, Italy, and is a Fellow of the Centro Segre at the Accademia dei Lincei, Rome. His publications include Voglio Morire! Suicide in Italian Literature, Culture and Society 1789-1919 (2013).

Elisa Bianco teaches Early Modern European History at the University of Insubria, Italy. Her publications include La Bisanzio dei Lumi. L’impero bizantino nella cultura italiana e francese da Luigi XIV alla Rivoluzione (2015).

Paola Guazzo is a free-lance writer and journalist. Her publications include the lesbian novel Un mito, a suo modo (2009), and R/esistenze lesbiche nell’Europa nazi-fascista (2010).

For further information on this title, please contact Cambridge Scholars Publishing at

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