Foreignizing the Imagi-Nation: Giovanni Ruffini’s Contrapuntal Risorgimento
Giovanni Ruffini, author of the 1855 novel Doctor Antonio, is mainly remembered as the quintessential exiled Risorgimento patriot who, in Mazzini’s footsteps, from London advocated Italy’s freedom and unification. this article presents Ruffini as a more complex contributor to the politics of nation-ness. It highlights how Doctor Antonio engages with a neglected aspect of the Risorgimento, namely, the coexistence of the nation-building project and of a European consciousness as openness to geographical displacement and cultural crossfertilization. Ruffini raises the paradoxical possibility of inhabiting dislocation, projecting emotional attachment upon a plurality of cultural visions rather than upon the monadic paradigm of the nation-state.
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