Offering a new approach to the intersection of literature and philosophy, Modernist Idealism contends that certain models of idealist thought require artistic form for their full development and that modernism realizes philosophical idealism in aesthetic form. This comparative view of modernism employs tools from intellectual history, literary analysis, and philosophical critique, focusing on the Italian reception of German idealist thought from the mid-1800s to the Second World War.
Modernist Idealism intervenes in ongoing debates about the nineteenth- and twentieth-century resurgence of materialism and spiritualism, as well as the relation of decadent, avant-garde, and modernist production. Michael J. Subialka aims to open new discursive space for the philosophical study of modernist literary and visual culture, considering not only philosophical and literary texts but also early cinema. The author’s main contention is that, in various media and with sometimes radically different political and cultural aims, a host of modernist artists and thinkers can be seen as sharing in a project to realize idealist philosophical worldviews in aesthetic form.
Michael J. Subialka is an assistant professor of comparative literature and Italian at the University of California, Davis.
Modernist Idealism Revitalizing Italy D'Annunzio and Shimoi, Italy and Japan: A Case of Modernist Idealism Modernism, Idealism, and Modernist Idealism The Artistic Fruition of Idealism: Vitalism, Spiritualism, and the New Materialism Italian Modernity and Modernist Idealism: A Transnational Paradigm
Italy at the Banquet of Nations: Hegel in Politics and Philosophy Philosophy, Nationality, and a New Italy: Hegel Comes to Naples Hegelian Idealism as a Response to Modern Crisis: History, Nationality, and the State Modernity and Spiritual Renewal: Italian Modernism and Hegelian Idealism
Italy’s Modernist Idealism and the Artistic Reception of Schopenhauer Alternative Ideals: From Hegel to Schopenhauer Schopenhauer in Italy: De Sanctis and His Philosophical and Cultural Reception The Other Side of Modernist Idealism
Aesthetic Decadence and Modernist Idealism: Schopenhauer’s Literary-Artistic Legacy Aestheticism and the Decadent Imagination: Art as an Alternative to Modern Deadness A Sublime Death: Suicide and Decadent Aestheticism Ambivalent Idealism: Ascetic Aestheticism and Modernist Renewal
Avant-Garde Idealism: The Ambivalence of Futurist Vitalism Futurist Lebensphilosophie: Practical and Mystical Revitalization Modernist Mysticism: A Dangerous Ideal(ism) Futurist Ambivalence and Modernist Idealism: The Case of Bruno Corra
Occult Spiritualism and Modernist Idealism: Reanimating the Dead World Occult Irrationality and Material Positivism: Spirits at the Juncture in Deledda, Capuana, and Pirandello Spiritual Creation and Modernist Idealism Modernist Idealism and the Long Durée
Cinematic Idealism: Modernist Visions of Spiritual Vitality Mediated by the Machine Cinematic Idealism: Existential Thought Experiments and the Vision of Photogénie Seeing Vital Rhythm: An Irrational Ideal in the Cinema of Futurism and Pirandello Cinematic Idealism Re-purposing Mechanization: A Surreal Coda
Schopenhauer and Leopardi: A Dialogue between A and D by Francesco De Sanctis
"Michael J. Subialka delves into the complexities of the reception of nineteenth-century German idealism (in particular Hegel and Schopenhauer) within the Italian literary context of the early twentieth century. In looking at the impact exercised on D’Annunzio, Capuana, Futurism, Svevo, Pirandello, Deledda, and Montale, this fascinating study examines the role played by major Italian idealist philosophers (Croce and Gentile) but also takes into account different perspectives, such as vitalism, spiritualism, and new materialism. This book is an indispensable tool for understanding the real meaning of Italian modernism."
Giuseppe Stellardi, associate professor of Italian, University of Oxford
"An outstanding tour de force on Italian modernism that spans different continents and cultural fields. Michael J. Subialka originally connects two very antithetical giants of German philosophy, Hegel and Schopenhauer, to show that what he calls Italian modernist idealism is, in fact, a combination of different art forms and philosophical thought ranging from the traditional spiritual and political idealism of Hegel to the fascist occultism of Julius Evola. The book’s perfect conclusion underscores the modernist ‘ambivalent amalgamation’ of different art forms and philosophical thought."
Daniela Bini, professor of Italian studies and comparative literature, University of Texas at Austin
"Comparative in design, sweeping in scope, and specific in detail, Michael J. Subialka’s masterful account of the reception of German idealist philosophy in Italy in the early twentieth century leads to the author’s innovative concept of ‘modernist idealism.’ The explanatory power of this idea yields fresh insights into a panoply of writers, artists, and movements, expanding current debates about Italian modernism, the relation of aesthetics to politics, and the global turn within the new modernist studies."
John P. Welle, professor emeritus of Italian and concurrent professor emeritus of film, television, and theatre, University of Notre Dame