The Enemy of the New Man: Homosexuality in Fascist Italy

Hardcover | April 23, 2012

byLorenzo BenadusiTranslated bySuzanne Dingee, Jennifer Pudney

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In this first in-depth historical study of homosexuality in Fascist Italy, Lorenzo Benadusi brings to light immensely important archival documents regarding the sexual politics of the Italian Fascist regime; he adds new insights to the study of the complex relationships of masculinity, sexuality, and Fascism; he explores the connections between new Fascist values and preexisting Italian traditional and Roman Catholic views on morality; he documents both the Fascist regime’s denial of the existence of homosexuality in Italy and its clandestine strategies and motivations for repressing and imprisoning homosexuals; he uncovers the ways that accusations of homosexuality (whether true or false) were used against political and personal enemies; and above all, he shows how homosexuality was deemed the enemy of the Fascist “New Man,” an ideal of a virile warrior and dominating husband vigorously devoted to the “political” function of producing children for the Fascist state.
    Benadusi investigates the regulation and regimentation of gender in Fascist Italy, and the extent to which, in uneasy concert with the Catholic Church, the regime engaged in the cultural and legal engineering of masculinity and femininity. He cites a wealth of unpublished documents, official speeches, letters, coerced confessions, private letters and diaries, legal documents, and government memos to reveal and analyze how the orders issued by the regime attempted to protect the “integrity of the Italian race.” For the first time, documents from the Vatican archives illuminate how the Catholic Church dealt with issues related to homosexuality during the Fascist period in Italy.

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From the Publisher

In this first in-depth historical study of homosexuality in Fascist Italy, Lorenzo Benadusi brings to light immensely important archival documents regarding the sexual politics of the Italian Fascist regime; he adds new insights to the study of the complex relationships of masculinity, sexuality, and Fascism; he explores the connection...

Lorenzo Benadusi is assistant professor of human sciences at the University of Bergamo in Italy.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:424 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.4 inPublished:April 23, 2012Publisher:University Of Wisconsin PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0299283909

ISBN - 13:9780299283902

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Emilio Gentile   

Acknowledgments   

Glossary   

Abbreviations   

Introduction: Against Nature: Masculinity and Homosexuality  

1 The Making of the Virile Italian   

2 The Discovery of Homosexuality   

3 Sodomy: Sin or Crime   

4 The Repression of Homosexuality   

5 Madmen or Criminals   

6 The Political Use of Homosexuality   

7 Bourgeois Respectability and Fascist Morality   

Notes   

Index   

Editorial Reviews

“An important book for the insight it yields, not only into the history of homosexuality in modern Italy, but into key aspects of the fascist project: its cult of virility and accompanying misogyny; its obsession with ‘strengthening the race’; its complicated relationship with the Catholic Church and the Italian bourgeoisie; its repressive tendencies; and, above all, the horizons and limits of its totalitarian aspirations.”—Journal of Contemporary History