The Life and Afterlife of a Neapolitan Revolutionary
Amsterdam University Press
This is a translation and new edition of Masaniello. La sua vita e il mito in Europa (Rome, 2007), the first historical biography of the leader of the revolt that broke out in Naples in 1647–48. Initially, its main objectives were the cancellation of the many taxes introduced in previous decades and a political reform that would allow the people to have their voice in the civic parliament. Thanks to Masaniello, the Neapolitans were able to compel the Spanish viceroy to sign new ‘capitoli’ (popular desiderata) but soon after, Masaniello was isolated by his main counselor, Giulio Genoino, and others, and ultimately abandoned to a tragic fate. From the moment of his death, a fascinating new life began in which Masaniello was exalted and condemned in many texts (historical volumes, plays, and even a dialogue with Wilhelm Tell) until, by the Risorgimento, he was remembered as an Italian hero.
Silvana D’Alessio teaches Early Modern History at the University of Salerno, having trained at the University Federico II in Naples, with periods in England and Germany. Besides the Masaniello revolt of 1647, she has worked on the devastating 1656 bubonic plague outbreak in Naples, focusing on physicians and their world.