Chapter 1. 1916
Italian narratives of the Tercentenary crisis
The essay argues that Shakespeare’s Tercentenary in 1916, following the peak of his popularity on the nineteenth-century Italian stages, coincided with a peculiar cultural and political transition in Italy due to Italy’s ‘embarrassing’ entry into the war alongside the Entente in 1915. By proceeding from a discussion of the Italian contributions to Israel Gollancz’s 1916
A Book of Homage to Shakespeare, and their discursive strategies complying, but also competing, with the book’s imperialist design, to an exploration of the 1916 issue of the Florentine literary magazine Il Marzocco devoted to a celebration of Shakespeare, this chapter explores how Shakespeare was ‘narrativised’ into a multi-faceted political icon. It discusses the manners of silencing, but also exposing, his subversive potential in the context of the Tercentenary, exhibiting the manipulative force of memory and forgetfulness at a time of sudden political and cultural changes which reflect a crisis of national identity.
Keywords: Croce on Shakespeare, Il Marzocco, A Book of Homage to Shakespeare, Shakespeare's Tercentenary