TOTalitarian ARTs: The Visual Arts, Fascism(s) and Mass-society

This collection represents a tool to broaden and deepen our geographical, institutional, and historical understanding of the term totalitarianism. Is totalitarianism only found in ‘other’ societies? How come, then, it emerged historically in ‘ours’ first? How come it developed in so many countries either in Western Europe (Italy, Germany, Portugal, and Spain) or under implicit Western forms of coercion (Latin America)? How do relations between individual(s), mass and the visual arts relate to totalitarian trends? These are among the questions this book asks about totalitarianism.

The volume does not impose a ‘one size fits all’ interpretation, but opens new spaces for debate on the connection between the visual arts and mass-culture in totalitarian societies. From the Mediterranean to Scandinavia, from Western Europe to Latin America, from the fascism of the early 20th century to contemporary forms of totalitarian control, and from cinema to architecture, the chapters included in TotArt bring expertise, historical sensibility and political awareness to bear on this varied range of phenomena.

This collection offers international contributions on visual, performing and plastic arts. The chapters range from examination of comics to study of YouTube videos and American newsreels, from Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Uruguayan cinemas to more contemporary American films and TV series, from painters and sculptors to the study of urban spaces.


Mark Epstein is a Test Rater for Educational Testing Service and a translator. He is on the editorial boards of Bionomina and Sinestesieonline and has published many essays and book chapters on Italian literature, culture, criticism, cinema and philosophy.

Fulvio Orsitto is Associate Professor and Director of the Italian and Italian American Program at California State University, USA. He has published extensively on Italian literature and on Italian and Italian American cinema.

Andrea Righi is Assistant Professor of Italian and Coordinator of the Italian Studies Program at Miami University, USA. He is the author of Italian Reactionary Thought and Critical Theory: An Inquiry into Savage Modernities (2015).

"It is clear how all twenty contributions within this heterogeneous volume are able to clearly identify many of the possible connections between visual arts and mass culture in totalitarian societies in the past and present. The relationships between the many and the individual, civil society and the state, are expertly analysed from a surprising number of perspectives, which not only examine the historical path of fascism and its cultural manifestations but also examine in detail the ways and means with which totalitarianism still overshadows democracy in ever different and ever more modern ways."

Eleonora Rimolo Università degli Studi di Salerno Sinestesieonline – quadrimestrale di studi sulla letteratura italiana della modernità, 20: 6 (June 2017)

Among the greatest merits of the book is its interdisciplinary nature, which will appeal to readers of different degrees of expertise (students as well as scholars) and research fields. In addition to scholars of European national literatures and cultures, this volume will surely attract the interest of scholars of Fascism and Totalitarianism. Those who will most benefit from this collection are certainly Visual Culture scholars, who can take advantage of the reflections on the specificity of the different visual media and their possible uses for inclusive and participatory purposes."

Eloisa Morra University of Toronto Revues des Livres

Buy This Book

ISBN: 1-4438-2874-2

ISBN13: 978-1-4438-2874-1

Release Date: 30th January 2017

Pages: 470

Price: £63.99

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