Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation

Fascist Virilities

Rhetoric, Ideology, and Social Fantasy in Italy

1996
Author:

Barbara Spackman

Fascist Virilities

A critical reappraisal of the relationship between fascist ideology and gender.

Exploring different conceptions of virility-as well as the reproductive fantasies they produce-in a selection of Italian political manifestos and literary writings, Fascist Virilities exposes the relation between fascist rhetoric and ideology.

In a book that is rigorous and witty, Barbara Spackman explores the economic and cultural fantasies of Italian fascism through its novels, pamphlets, and speeches. The policing of national and sexual boundaries, the fantasy of male reproduction, man-to-man bonding and constant fear of homosexuality-all roads, in fascist discourse, lead to the notion of virility. Fascist Virilities shows how much a theory of fascism has to gain from the study of rhetoric and narrative; Spackman’s book is a major contribution to the theory of fascism and to an understanding of ideology in general.

Alice Kaplan, Duke University

Fascist Virilities

Tags

Exploring different conceptions of virility-as well as the reproductive fantasies they produce-in a selection of Italian political manifestos and literary writings, Fascist Virilities exposes the relation between fascist rhetoric and ideology. Here, Barbara Spackman looks at Italian fascism as a matter of discourse, with “virility” as the master code that articulates and melds its disparate elements.

In Spackman’s analysis, fascist rhetoric binds together the elements of fascist ideology, with “virility” as the key. To reveal how this works, she traces the circulation of “virility” in the discourse of the Italian fascist regime and in the rhetorical practice of Mussolini himself. She tracks the appearance of virility in two of the sources of fascist rhetoric, Gabriele D’Annunzio and F. T. Marinetti, in the writings of the futurist Valentine de Saint Point and the fascist feminist Teresa Labriola, and in the speeches of Mussolini.

A critical and timely contribution to the current reappraisal of fascist ideology, this book will interest anyone concerned with the relations among gender, sexuality, and fascist discourse.

Fascist Virilities exposes the relation between rhetoric and ideology. Barbara Spackman looks at Italian fascism as a matter of discourse, with “virility” as the master code that articulates and melds its disparate elements. In her analysis, rhetoric binds together the elements of ideology, with “virility” as the key. To reveal how this works, Spackman traces the circulation of “virility” in the discourse of the Italian regime and in the rhetorical practices of Mussolini himself. She tracks the appearance of virility in two of the sources of fascist rhetoric, Gabriele D’Annunzio and F. T. Marinetti, in the writings of the futurist Valentine de Saint Point and the fascist feminist Teresa Labriola, and in the speeches of Mussolini.

Barbara Spackman is associate professor of Italian at New York University.

Fascist Virilities

Fascist Virilities is a tremendous contribution to the study of Italian Fascism in particular and the study of Fascism as a wider political and ideological phenomenon. Readers unfamiliar with Barbara Spackman’s work will be delighted by her wit, her perspicacity and the elegance of her prose.

Journal of Modern Italian Studies

In a book that is rigorous and witty, Barbara Spackman explores the economic and cultural fantasies of Italian fascism through its novels, pamphlets, and speeches. The policing of national and sexual boundaries, the fantasy of male reproduction, man-to-man bonding and constant fear of homosexuality-all roads, in fascist discourse, lead to the notion of virility. Fascist Virilities shows how much a theory of fascism has to gain from the study of rhetoric and narrative; Spackman’s book is a major contribution to the theory of fascism and to an understanding of ideology in general.

Alice Kaplan, Duke University

About This Book