In Italy, the concepts of nation, motherland and language were developed during the so-called Risorgimento – the political, social, military and cultural movement that evolved into the unification of several local states on the Italian Peninsula into a single nation: Italy. In his novel Dagli Appennini alle Ande (1886) and in his book Sull’Oceano (1889), Italian writer and journalist Edmondo De Amicis (1846-1908) used these concepts as they were seen during the Risorgimento period, revealing how distant the Italian territorial and political unity obtained in 1861 was from social and cultural unity. By analyzing these concepts in the works above and the local situations left by Italian emigrants at home, especially regarding the high illiteracy rates, this paper argues that Italian emigration played a key role in Italy’s nation building.
De Amicis. Nation. Motherland. Language. Italy.