Benito Mussolini has persistently been described as an 'actor' - and also as a master of illusions. In her vividly narrated account of the Italian dictator's relationship with the theatre, Patricia Gaborik discards any metaphorical notions of Il Duce as a performer and instead tells the story of his life as literal spectator, critic, impresario, dramatist and censor of the stage. Discussing the ways in which the autarch's personal tastes and convictions shaped, in fascist Italy, theatrical programming, she explores Mussolini's most significant dramatic influences, his association with important figures such as Luigi Pirandello, Gabriele D'Annunzio and George Bernard Shaw, his oversight of stage censorship, and his forays into playwriting. By focusing on its subject's manoeuvres in the theatre, and manipulation of theatrical ideas, this consistently illuminating book transforms our understandings of fascism as a whole. It will have strong appeal to readers in both theatre studies and modern Italian history.
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