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Staging Fascism: 18BL and the Theater of Masses for Masses Paperback – August 1, 1996

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

The book describes how the spectacle arose amidst the theoretical debates unleashed by Mussolini's speech; how it was able to put itself forward as a solution to anxieties regarding the inadequacy of fascist culture.

About the Author

Jeffrey T. Schnapp is Professor of Italian and Comparative Literature at Stanford.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press; 1 edition (August 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804726086
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804726085
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.6 x 7.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,542,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Before moving to Harvard in 2011, Jeffrey T. Schnapp occupied the Pierotti Chair of Italian Studies at Stanford, where he founded the Stanford Humanities Lab in 1999.

A cultural historian with research interests extending from antiquity to the present, his most recent books are The Electric Information Age Book (a collaboration with the designer Adam Michaels of Project Projects [Princeton Architectural Press, 2012]), Italiamerica II (Il Saggiatore, 2012), co-edited with Emanuela Scarpellini, Digital_Humanities (MIT Press, 2012), a book co-written with Anne Burdick, Johanna Drucker, Peter Lunenfeld, and Todd Presner, and Modernitalia (Peter Lang, 2012), a collection of essays on 20th century Italian cultural history, edited by Francesca Santovetti.

His pioneering work in the domains of digital humanities and digitally augmented approaches to cultural programming includes curatorial collaborations with the Triennale di Milano, the Cantor Center for the Visual Arts, the Wolfsonian-FIU, and the Canadian Center for Architecture. His Trento Tunnels project -- a 6000 sq. meter pair of highway tunnels in Northern Italy repurposed as a history museum- was featured in the Italian pavilion of the 2010 Venice Biennale and at the MAXXI in Rome in RE-CYCLE. Strategie per la casa la città e il pianeta (fall-winter 2011).

Faculty co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, he is Professor of Romance Languages & Literature and also on the teaching faculty in the Department of Architecture at Harvard's Graduate School of Design.

He is the faculty director of metaLAB (at) Harvard.

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Format: Paperback
This book, by one of the foremost cultural historians of our time, tells the amazing (and amazingly strange) story of the attempt to create a new kind of mass revolutionary theater in Italy during the decades of Mussolini's dictatorship. In reality, it is a comprehensive history of 1920's and 1930's Italy and the way it interacted with modernity and the world. But it tells this fascinating story by means of a narrower but no less fascinating story: that of the first and last! mass spectacle staged to rise to Mussolini's challenge, launched in 1932, for Italian authors to create a "theater of 20000 spectators" (kind of a cross between a Soviet agitprop play and mass athletic event). The hero of this experiment was an 18 BL Fiat truck and Schnapp very deftly tries to make sense of this seemingly mad (and forgotten) venture. A pretty riveting tale that is well told and sometimes uncannily reflects on our own era, however distant.
This is scholarship at its most rigorous and least pedantic. It reads like a novel (but as they say, truth IS stranger than fiction).
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Staging Fascism: 18BL and the Theater of Masses for Masses
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