R. Baritono, D. Frezza, A. Lorini, M. Vaudagna, E. Vezzosi
This book is the result of a research network formed by historians and literary critics of the United States from different Italian universities, in cooperation with U.S. and European Americanists.
The public/private distinction is notoriously difficult to operationalize in scholarly research because of its diverse implications. However, as in everyday language, multiplicity of meanings and gray, overlapping semantic areas are often potentially rich repositories of historical and cultural traces.
Authors in this book have focussed mainly on the issues of subjectivity, family, and affection and have examined the way they relate to different publics and different notions of publicity. Essays discuss how the subjective and emotional conditions of writers and intellectuals relate to the scientific community, the reading public, the cultural market.
Social historians analyze the interaction between family, subjectivity and mental landscapes on the one hand, and the spatial configurations of the city, the territory, the community, and the home on the other. Students of politics connect the private dimension with the government, the administrative state and different definitions of democratic citizenship, or stress the impact of family metaphors on the language of public life. Essays devoted to memory examine the interaction between its individual dimension and the search for common perceptions and experience.Most essays pay attention to the notion of gender as fundamental to an analysis of public and private, which, while difficult, is however full of scholarly promise.