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Byron and Italy$
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Alan Rawes and Diego Saglia

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781526100559

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526100559.001.0001

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The politics of the unities: tragedy and the Risorgimento in Byron and Manzoni

The politics of the unities: tragedy and the Risorgimento in Byron and Manzoni

(p.130) 7 The politics of the unities: tragedy and the Risorgimento in Byron and Manzoni
Byron and Italy

Arnold Anthony Schmidt

Manchester University Press

This chapter takes an original approach to Byron’s much-discussed engagement with the early Risorgimento by focusing not on biographical aspects, but rather on formal issues. It centres on The Two Foscari in the context of the highly politicised contemporary Italian critical debates about the dramatic unities. In this fashion, it teases out the political implications of Byron’s adherence to the unities by comparing his play to Alessandro Manzoni’s Il conte di Carmagnola, which programmatically violates them. Focusing specifically on the playwrights’ representations of the fifteenth-century mercenary leader, Francesco Bussone da Carmagnola, the chapter explores these writers’ use or abuse of the unity of time, in particular. In doing so, it throws light on, and contrasts, Manzoni’s Risorgimento agenda on the one hand and Byron’s generally sceptical attitude about leadership and uncertainty about social and political change on the other.

Keywords:   The Two Foscari, Alessandro Manzoni, Byron’s dramatic art, Italian Politics, Political Leadership, Risorgimento, Dramatic unities

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