BOOK REVIEWS 259 considering the construction of the self, as is the case of women writers. Examples of such writers included in the volume include Margherita Datini and Saint Catheri- ne of Siena — curiously, Alessandra Strozzi is not included. Furthermore, Petrucci underscores a decisive moment in the history of letters: the period from the French Revolution to the beginning of the First World War. Walter Benjamin’s collection of letters, Deutsche Menschen, also considers this period. Petrucci writes that, in this period, letter writing experienced a transforma- tion of sorts. The letter becomes an instrument of the growing middle class. Letter writing, writes Petrucci, “transforms from a phenomenon substantially singular, unique and occasional and in a way controllable to a socio-cultural phenomenon, functional and structural along the same lines as the cultural and economic develop- ment of the industrial revolution” (133) (translation mine). Petrucci then ventures forth into the twentieth century. At times, it is History that forces the letter to present itself as the voice of an age — as is the case of sol- diers writing home during the Great War (a reference to Spitzer’s anthology is obli- gatory). Finally, Petrucci address the modern age: the age
Forum Italicum : A Journal of Italian Studies – SAGE
Published: Mar 1, 2010
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