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Italian and Italian American Studies

Popular High Culture in Italian Media, 1950–1970

Mona Lisa Covergirl

Authors: Barron, Emma

  • Examines how Italy incorporated its rich cultural heritage into its modern identity during industrialisation
  • Offers case studies from popular magazines, television and advertising to trace collapsing boundaries between elite and mass culture
  • Foregrounds overlooked cultural materials such as popular magazines in the cultural history of Italy in the 1950s and 1960s
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Buy this book

eBook £55.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-90963-9
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover £69.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-90962-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

When Mona Lisa smiled enigmatically from the cover of the Italian magazine Epoca in 1957, she gazed out at more than three million readers. As Emma Barron argues, her appearance on the cover is emblematic of the distinctive ways that high culture was integrated into Italy’s mass culture boom in the 1950s and 1960s, a period when popular appropriations of literature, fine art and music became a part of the rapidly changing modern Italian identity. Popular magazines ran weekly illustrated adaptations of literary classics. Television brought opera from the opera house into the homes of millions. Readers wrote to intellectuals and artists such as Alberto Moravia, Thomas Mann and Salvatore Quasimodo by the thousands with questions about literature and self-education. Drawing upon new archival material on the demographics of television audiences and magazine readers, this book is an engaging account of how the Italian people took possession of high culture and transformed the modern Italian identity.

About the authors

Emma Barron teaches European film and history in the Department of History at the University of Sydney, Australia, and is an Honorary Research Associate at the Australasian Centre for Italian Studies.

Reviews

“This book re-invents the history of Italian television. By looking in detail at the heady mix of 'mass' and 'high' culture used by the medium in the early days of Italian television, Barron provides a fresh, exciting and fascinating insight into the ways Italians interacted with and utilised television and its role in Italian life as a whole. An important study which will open up debates in a series of areas.” (John Foot, Professor of Modern Italian History, Bristol University, UK)

“Emma Barron’s study of the role of high culture in the formation of Italian mass culture is a path-breaking work that is required reading for any scholar or student interested in the country’s postwar development. It is a brilliant and original analysis of a topic that has not hitherto had the attention it deserves.” (Stephen Gundle, Professor of Film and Television Studies, University of Warwick, UK)

Table of contents (10 chapters)

  • Introduction: The Mona Lisa Covergirl

    Barron, Emma

    Pages 1-20

  • Italia domanda: A Question of Culture

    Barron, Emma

    Pages 21-54

  • Dear Intellectual: The Cultural Advice Columns

    Barron, Emma

    Pages 55-92

  • Lascia o raddoppia?: Contestants and the Classics

    Barron, Emma

    Pages 93-138

  • Lip-Syncing Rossini: The Highs and Lows of Italian Television Opera

    Barron, Emma

    Pages 139-176

Buy this book

eBook £55.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-90963-9
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover £69.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-90962-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Popular High Culture in Italian Media, 1950–1970
Book Subtitle
Mona Lisa Covergirl
Authors
Series Title
Italian and Italian American Studies
Copyright
2018
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-90963-9
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-90963-9
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-319-90962-2
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XV, 337
Number of Illustrations
16 b/w illustrations, 9 illustrations in colour
Topics