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February 06 , 2010

Carlo Cattaneo and the Politics of the Risorgimento, 1820–1860


In January 1948, Alessandro Levi, a distinguished scholar in the fields of law, philosophy and political theory, published an article entitled "The 'return' of Carlo Cattaneo. " 1 Levi, himself the author of an im­ portant work on Cattaneo, 2 reported on several initiatives which had been taken by Italian scholars since 1945 to rescue the Lombard writer and politician from relative obscurity. With some financial assistance from the City of Milan, a committee of Italian and Swiss scholars had been formed in the spring of 1946 to publish Cattaneo's works, which until then had only appeared in fragmentary and uncritical 3 editions. LeMonnier of Florence had agreed to publish the new edi­ tion. Meanwhile, the Lombard historian Rinaldo Caddeo was preparing with considerable pains an edition of several volumes of Cattaneo's correspondence. In addition, a catalog of materials pertaining to Cat­ taneo and found among the Crispi papers was being prepared at the State Archives in Palermo. A brief biography had appeared in 1945 and other works by historians, political scientists, and journalists were 4 in progress. These initiatives seemed long overdue, in view of the fact that Cattaneo's contemporaries had considered him a leading figure in the liberal-democratic current of the Risorgimento. As Levi acknowledged in his article, however, these efforts to rescue Cattaneo's work from obscurity were something more than a belated tribute to an important participant in the history of nineteenth century Italy.
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