When I begin this project I decided I did not know enough about the 1960s in Italy, to understand the cultural context of the creation of this house. When I started reading Kubin, written in 1913 Austria, I decided that I had forgotten too much history and needed a refresher of the times, to understand why the book –and eventually, consequently all the books — was written in the time and place it was. What was it about these things, and this author, that made this book possible.
One can go back to the argument as to whether or not contextual knowledge of the creation of a text is something one wants, or if text alone is the thing. I have always been of the latter persuasion but since this entire project turns out to be about context and meaning and culture, here, I delve into it all. So let’s have that argument later, shall we?
I started reading backwards, the 60s Italy lead me backwards through this history of Italy, where I stopped, largely, at 1860. Of course, you can’t understand 1860 if you don’t understand everything that came before it, but it was my pause, for the moment.
With the Kubin, I went in both directions, forward into WWI and WWII, but again, also backwards. Again, to 1860. But 1860 wasn’t enough, as my friend Richard pointed out, what I had on my hands was an 1848 problem.
Today I picked up a book, a newish small edition on the Risorgimento, and the new ways of seeing that have come about with the historians in the past decade.
It starts out, in the first bit, explaining that one cannot understand 1860 without going back to 1789. Continually backward I go.