From private to public: Alba de Céspedes' agony column in 1950s Italy

Morris, P. (2004) From private to public: Alba de Céspedes' agony column in 1950s Italy. Modern Italy, 9(1), pp. 11-20. (doi:10.1080/13532940410001677467)

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A unique, if problematical, historical source for the study of the 'private sphere', the problem page has, as yet, been the subject of little serious attention. This article initially considers the problem page in general terms, and with particular reference to 1950s Italy, a time when a notable feature of the changing patterns of cultural consumption was the emergence and upsurge in popularity of the weekly magazine. The rest of the paper is devoted to an analysis of best-selling author Alba de Céspedes' agony column, 'Dalla parte di lei', published in the magazine Epoca. The article shows that the column provides intriguing insights into the state of family and marriage during a time of transition. It discusses the idea of the agony column as a commodity, but also highlights de Céspedes' aim of providing a kind of compendium of lay morals, arguing that any attempt to provide an alternative to the Catholic Church, and the prevailing conservative attitudes of the time, was a matter of careful negotiation.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Morris, Dr Penelope
Authors: Morris, P.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
D History General and Old World > DG Italy
College/School:College of Arts > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > Italian
Journal Name:Modern Italy
Publisher:Routledge (Taylor & Francis)

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