Angelo Rizzoli was one of Italy’s leading publishers in the interwar period and beyond, thanks to his business intuition and daring investments in the popular periodicals sector. In the 1920s and 1930s he published a galaxy of illustrated magazines aimed at the urban middle classes, which prove paradigmatic of a new form of Italian weeklies. The article posits that Rizzoli’s rotocalchi, based on entertaining content and photojournalism, were mediators par excellence in three areas. First, in publishing middlebrow fiction. Second, in translating short stories from linguistic and cultural milieus with a deliberate selection of specific literary genres, settings, and character types — a branding that emerges from investigating the weeklies Novella and Lei. Third, in the creation of a platform for interchange between literature, photography, and cinema, mainly in Cinema Illustrazione Presenta. Notwithstanding the obstacles put in their way by the Fascist regime and the censorship system, Rizzoli’s illustrated magazines introduced and spread models of female conduct that did not coincide with those proposed by the Fascists, while adapting them to common Italian cultural values and exploiting them for commercial purposes. As a typical expression of middlebrow culture based on leisure, respectability, and consumption, they repurposed messages from other media and foreign contexts, facilitating the penetration of modern behaviour patterns in Italy.

Developing Middlebrow Culture in Fascist Italy: The Case of Rizzoli’s Illustrated Magazines / F. Guidali. - In: JOURNAL OF EUROPEAN PERIODICAL STUDIES. - ISSN 2506-6587. - 4:2(2019 Dec), pp. 106-121. [10.21825/jeps.v4i2.10774]

Developing Middlebrow Culture in Fascist Italy: The Case of Rizzoli’s Illustrated Magazines

F. Guidali
2019

Abstract

Angelo Rizzoli was one of Italy’s leading publishers in the interwar period and beyond, thanks to his business intuition and daring investments in the popular periodicals sector. In the 1920s and 1930s he published a galaxy of illustrated magazines aimed at the urban middle classes, which prove paradigmatic of a new form of Italian weeklies. The article posits that Rizzoli’s rotocalchi, based on entertaining content and photojournalism, were mediators par excellence in three areas. First, in publishing middlebrow fiction. Second, in translating short stories from linguistic and cultural milieus with a deliberate selection of specific literary genres, settings, and character types — a branding that emerges from investigating the weeklies Novella and Lei. Third, in the creation of a platform for interchange between literature, photography, and cinema, mainly in Cinema Illustrazione Presenta. Notwithstanding the obstacles put in their way by the Fascist regime and the censorship system, Rizzoli’s illustrated magazines introduced and spread models of female conduct that did not coincide with those proposed by the Fascists, while adapting them to common Italian cultural values and exploiting them for commercial purposes. As a typical expression of middlebrow culture based on leisure, respectability, and consumption, they repurposed messages from other media and foreign contexts, facilitating the penetration of modern behaviour patterns in Italy.
Rizzoli, illustrated magazines; middlebrow, popular culture; Fascism; translations;
Settore M-STO/04 - Storia Contemporanea
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/740036
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