A purely political framework does not capture the complexity of the culture behind Italians’ struggle for liberty and independence during the Risorgimento (1815-1861). Roberto Romani identifies the sensibilities associated with each of the two main political programmes, Mazzini’s republicanism and moderatism, which in fact were comprehensive projects for a political, moral, and religious resurgence. The moderates’ espousal of reason entailed an ideal personality expressed by private virtue, self-possession, and a public morality informed by Catholicism, while Mazzini’s advocacy of passions led to ‘enthusiasm’ and a total commitment to the cause. Romani demonstrates that the patriots’ moral quest rested on a thick cultural bedrock, dating back to Stoicism and the Catholic
Aufklärung, and passing through Rousseau and the Revolution.
National Poets, Cultural Saints Marijan Dović and Jón Karl Helgason explore the ways in which certain artists, writers, and poets in Europe have become major figures of cultural memory, emulating the symbolic role formerly played by state rulers and religious saints. The authors develop the concept of cultural sainthood in the context of nationalism as a form of invisible religion, identify major shifts in canonization practices from antiquity to the nationally-motivated commemoration of the nineteenth century, and explore the afterlives of two national poets, Slovenia's France Prešeren and Iceland's Jónas Hallgrímsson. The book presents a useful analytical model of canonization for further studies on cultural sainthood and opens up fruitful perspectives for the understanding of national movements.