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Istituto per i Beni Culturali Emilia-Romagna

Memoria e Ricerca

Alpine discours and counter-discours: the mountain as reference for identity beetween Nineteenth and Twentieth Century

di Simona Boscani Leoni
in Memoria e Ricerca n.s. 19 (2005), p. 31

The study of the Alpine-Discourse is normally based on the analysis of texts by authors who were only sporadically living in mountain regions. By contrast, this paper investigates the Alpine-Discourse “internally”, i.e. from the point of view of local authors. The main aim is to show the Alps’ role in building a Swiss national identity. First, the paper focuses on two texts of the 19th century written by two elite members from a Swiss mountain canton. The first text represents a “patriotically” alpine counter-discourse, while the second text is an example of the reception of the romantic feeling of the wildness. In these two case studies, the Alpine landscape is an important factor in building a sentiment of local and national Swiss identity. Second, in some works of the 20th centuries, we show the reaction by mountain people to an alpine imagery that is more and more influenced by the tourism.