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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Europa(s) : el ensayo político español e italiano en el siglo XIX Oluić, Gianluca


My dissertation Europe(s): The Spanish and Italian 19th Century Political Essay studies the archetypes of an imagined European community posited by four nineteenth-century authors. More precisely, I analyse political essays written by Juan Donoso Cortés, Jaime Balmes, Carlo Cattaneo and Giuseppe Mazzini. While the first two belong to the Spanish Catholic tradition, the latter two are anchored in Italian Liberalism and Republicanism. Once I ascertained that there exists a precise and profound awareness on the part of these authors regarding the necessity to build a broader and stronger connection among the European nation-states, I started to search for the reasons and aims that surround their “proposed community”. Therefore, in my dissertation I inquire into the connection between the interests of the nation itself and the potential supranational entity, exploring contacts and boundaries that define the political struggle of the aforementioned authors in their historical contexts. In order to shed light into the argument, I analyse selected texts through close reading, demonstrating how the socio-political identity of each thinker emerges from the topic they choose to broach, and the strategies they adopt to convince the readers. The epistemology of their discourses is associated to different projects of Europeanism, pinpointing the essential characters of their ideal Europe. The imagined communities that emerge when exploring these texts are often diverse and diachronically opposed to each other, but nonetheless they coincide in subverting the existing hegemonic powers that ruled a good deal of the European nineteenth-century economic and diplomatic spheres. Because of this, I aim to demonstrate that issues that concern contemporary European sovereignty were already present and broached in the Southern European nineteenth-century essay. The use of a comparative research applied in my work offers a novel way to revisit the Spanish traditional discourse as well as the Italian Risorgimento canon. Furthermore, my interpretation of Donoso, Balmes, Cattaneo and Mazzini offers a broader and improved comprehension of these authors, whose theories emerge as being more complex and multifaceted than was previously believed.

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