Alessio Cotugno

«Rinascimento» and «Risorgimento» (XVIIIth-XIXth centuries)

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: political and historiographical vocabulary; historical semantics; Renaissance studies.

The paper examines the history of two words, Rinascimento and Risorgimento, whose routes partially overlapped. In the XVIIIth century the form risorgimento referred both (1) to the cultural and artistic rebirth which took place in Italy from the end of the XIth until the XVIth century (with the meaning of the contemporary Rinascimento) and (2) to a wished political upheaval, as it stands out from some coeval works. The XIXth century was the turning point: Risorgimento (with the capital letter) began to refer to the political movement for the Italian unification. This semantic specialization was totally incompatible with the previous cultural and historiographical meaning ('period of artistic and cultural renewal'), that celebrated a period in which Italy had no political independence. In the XIXth century risorgimento and rinascimento finally specialized their meanings, although it is possible to find traces of the previous intersections and new coinages.

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