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Although studies of fascism have constituted one of the most fertile areas of historical inquiry in recent decades, more and more scholars have called for a new agenda with more research beyond Italy and Germany, less preoccupation with definition and classification, and more sustained focus on the relationships among different fascist formations before 1945. Starting from a critical assessment of these imperatives, this rigorous volume charts a historiographical path that transcends rigid distinctions while still developing meaningful criteria of differentiation. Even as we take fascism seriously as a political phenomenon, such an approach allows us to better understand its distinctive contradictions and historical variations.
During the early decades of the twentieth century, Italy produced distinctive innovations in both the intellectual and political realms. On the one hand, Benedetto Croce (1866-1952) and Giovanni Gentile (1875-1944) spearheaded a radical rethinking of historicism and philosophical idealism that significantly reoriented Italian culture. On the other hand, the period witnessed the first rumblings of fascism. Assuming opposite sides, Gentile became the semi-official philosopher of fascism while Croce argued for a renewed liberalism based on 'absolute' historicism.In Historicism and Fascism in Modern Italy, David D. Roberts uses the ideological conflict between Croce and Gentile as a basis for a wider discussion of the interplay between politics and ideas in Italy during the early-twentieth century. Roberts examines the connection between fascism and the modern Italian intellectual tradition, arguing that the relationship not only deepens our understanding of fascism and liberalism but also illuminates ongoing dangers and possibilities in the wider Western world. This set of twelve essays by one of the leading scholars in the field represents an authoritative view of the modern Italian intellectual tradition, its relationship with fascism, and its enduring implications for history, politics, and culture in Italy and beyond.
This Sixth Edition is briefer and incorporates pedagogical features such as focus questions, key terms, and section summaries to better support students of western civilization.
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