The cult of the Duce

Mussolini and the Italians

Edited by Stephen Gundle, Christopher Duggan and Giuliana Pieri

The cult of the Duce


  • Hardcover
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-9663-1
  • Pages: 304
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £21.99
  • Published Date: January 2015
  • BIC Category: Modern History, History, General & world history, 20th century, c 1900 to c 1999, History & Archaeology, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Fascism & Totalitarianism, HISTORY / Modern / 20th Century, Society & social sciences / Fascism & Nazism, Humanities / 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000


The cult of the Duce is the first book to explore systematically the personality cult of the Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. It examines the factors which informed the cult and looks in detail at its many manifestations in the visual arts, architecture, political spectacle and the media. The conviction that Mussolini was an exceptional individual first became dogma among Fascists and then was communicated to the people at large. Intellectuals and artists helped fashion the idea of him as a new Caesar while the modern media of press, photography, cinema and radio aggrandised his every public act. The book considers the way in which Italians experienced the personality cult and analyses its controversial resonances in the postwar period.

Academics and students with interests in Italian and European history and politics will find the volume indispensable to an understanding of Fascism, Italian society and culture, and modern political leadership.

Among the contributions is an Afterword by Mussolini's leading biographer, R.J.B. Bosworth.


Introduction - Stephen Gundle, Christopher Duggan and Giuliana Pieri
1. Political cults in liberal Italy, 1861-1922 - Christopher Duggan
2. The propagation of the cult of the Duce, 1925-26 - Christopher Duggan
3. Margherita Sarfatti and the invention of the Duce - Simona Storchi
4. Sanity from a lunatic asylum: Ida Dalser's threat to Mussolini's image - Daniela Baratieri
5. Mass culture and the cult of personality - Stephen Gundle
6. A town for the cult of the Duce: Predappio as a site of pilgrimage - Sofia Serenelli
7. Mussolini's appearances in the regions - Stephen Gundle
8. The internalisation of the cult of the Duce: the evidence of diaries and letters - Christopher Duggan
9. Mussolini and the Italian Empire, 1935-41 - Giuseppe Finaldi
10. Portraits of the Duce - Giuliana Pieri
11. Photographing Mussolini - Alessandra Antola
12. Mussolini as monument: the equestrian statue of the Duce at the Littoriale stadium in Bologna - Simona Storchi
13. Mussolini and the city of Rome - Eugene Pooley
14. The destiny of the art and artefacts - Giuliana Pieri
15. The aftermath of the Mussolini cult: history, nostalgia and popular culture - Stephen Gundle
16. Mussolini and postwar Italian television - Vanessa Roghi
Afterword - R.J.B. Bosworth
Notes on contributors


Stephen Gundle is Professor of Film and Television Studies at the University of Warwick

Christopher Duggan is Professor of Modern Italian History at the University of Reading

Giuliana Pieri is Reader in Italian and the Visual Arts at Royal Holloway, University of London

The cult of the Duce

Edited by Stephen Gundle, Christopher Duggan, Giuliana Pieri

Paperback £21.99 / $32.95

Hardcover £85.00 / $130.00

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