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Ponzo, Jenny (2017): Procession as a Literary Motif: The Intersection of Religious and National Symbolism in Italian Narrative (Nineteenth-Twentieth Centuries). In: Journal of Religion in Europe, Vol. 10, No. 43132: pp. 107-146
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National imagery developed as a secular substitute for religion, and in modern society, there has been a 'transfer' of sacredness from religion to politics. This paper focuses on Italy, where, despite the legal separation of church and state, the 'sacral' national apparatus still owes a considerable debt to religion. After a short exposition of some of the main theories of civil religion in Italy, this work will analyze a corpus of Italian novels set during the Risorgimento, a period that functions in Italian culture as an atypical founding myth. It will show in particular how civil and religious symbols and rituals intersect in the literary representation of processions. Indeed, the procession is a recurring motif in Italian narrative and presents peculiar aesthetic features. The analysis of this literary motif will take advantage of socio-anthropological theories and will trace a distinction between ordered and disordered, or enthusiastic, processions.