Representing Crime: Literature and Politics in the Post-Unitarian Brigandage (Southern Italy, 1860-1870)
This essay deals with the topic of the post-Unitarian brigandage conducted through the analysis of the literary representation produced in France and in Italy in a tense political climate due to public order problems in the new Kingdom. I have assumed that the mutual in uence of the literary imaginarium, the political strategies and the socio-criminological classi cation deconstructed the romantic-chivalric tradition of the Italian bandit. Consequently, the brigandage was rede ned as a «counter- society» constituted by violent professional criminals with autonomous habits, customs and language. The organizational structure and identity of brigands appear related to the bas-fonds literature, and broadly to the French social novel. The political controversy reshaped the criminal and social identity, adjusting it case by case and identifying in the Italian «dangerous classes» the real obstacle to the hard paci cation of Southern regions. The result was a rich debate capable to nd its roots in the literary eld and to act directly in the public domain with performative effects.
Keyword: Italian brigandage; Crime; Representations.