New York’s Italian Exile Press and the Civil War
Bénédicte Deschamps, Paris Diderot University
The events of Risorgimento Italy provoked political migrations. In the United States, Risorgimento exiles played an essential part in the birth of the Italian American press. When Piacenza-born Giovanni Francesco Secchi de Casali founded the first long-lived Italian-language newspaper in New York, L’Eco d’Italia (1849), his intention was primarily to voice the exiles’ political views about the future of Italy. Yet, as he chose to remain in the United States, he had to adapt his newspaper to his American environment and report on such difficult issues as the Civil War. Bénédicte Deschamps will analyze the ambiguous support lent by L’Eco d’Italia to the Union cause and will also discuss the former editor of Il Proscritto, Filippo Manetta, a mazzinian exile who became a propagandist for the Confederates when he returned to Italy. Deschamps’s presentation will show that Italian editors like these served as conveyors of cultural representations between the United States and Europe, shaping both Italians’ image of the United States and Americans’ image of Italy.