Curated by Linda L. Carroll, Jacklyn Grambush, Rachel Hullett, and Teresa Russo, this exhibit arose from the breadth and depth both of Tulane University's holdings in this area and of the Italian literary patriotic experience.
Over the course of the eighteenth century, Enlightenment ideals of individual dignity and self-determination grew in concert with the determination of leading Italians to free their regional states from the foreign domination under which they had labored from the early sixteenth century. The rise of Napoleon and the American Revolution provided further elements that drove Italy from its fragmented, dominated condition to national unification. Seeking to inspire a patriotism among the populace that would lead to the overthrow of foreign domination, Italian patriots found the answer in their cultural history, especially their literature, undertaking extensive publishing programs to bring their literary classics to a broad public and creating new works to establish both personal and national identity. This exhibit provides a sampling of the books and ideas that helped spur Italy into forging its own existence as a unified nation.