A History of Odessa, the Last Italian Black Sea Colony
The study reconstructs the Italian protohistory of Odessa, founded in 1794 by the immigrants from Genoa and Naples, Venice and Palermo. For the first time and upon the lengthy and elaborate archival research in Italy and Ukraine, the Odessa of Alexander Pushkin and Anna Akhmatova, battleship Potemkin and Eisenstein, Babel and Kandinsky enters European historiography as a world of the dynasties of De Ribas and Frapoliies, Rossies and Bubbas, Bernadazzies and Riznich, Molinaries, Iorini et al.. Having revised the narratives of the tzarist, Soviet, pre- perestroika and post- Communist past, the monograph not only reclaims the first Italian settlers, but examines the process of forging Europeanness, a cultural identity, beyond the traditional East and West, nation and people. European culture has been notably influenced by Italian civilization, and Odessa is one of the important manifestations of this phenomenon. The book places this 18th century Italian migration to the Black Sea into various contexts- the ancient porto-franco, the12th-14th century Crimea, the persecution of Jesuits and Jews, Risorgimento and Romantic Europe. It challenges the post-modern concept of colonialism by presenting the colonial Other through history and philosophy, semiotics and architecture, history of art and musicology. This history of Odessa not only reveals the neglected European past but imagines the future of the European continent, explaining the role of migration and mechanism of cultural transport.
“Dr. Anna Makolkin’s monograph is a carefully researched and accurate account of the foundation of the port city of Odessa(1794), and tells of the part, played by the Italian immigrants in this historical event which lead to the successful exploration of the Black Sea frontier - Novorossiia/New Russia. The materials about this obscure migration have been scattered in archives of Italy and Ukraine, and most 19th and 20th century historians, intimidated by radical nationalism, politics and geopolitics of Europe, and post-colonial trends did not have sufficient courage to address the topic. Italians were not just another wave of Odessa immigrants, not just another part of her multicultural mosaic, they were her founders and colonizers of the region. None of the so far available historiographical materials have ever suggested this, and it is the main accomplishment of Dr. Anna Makolkin and her timely, elaborate, well-researched and erudite monograph. Unlike some recent historical essays about Odessa, her book goes beyond the account of the single city and temporary contributions of a single group. Her book fills the gap in the European historiography about the unknown, atypical and underestimated Italian migration which was instrumental in Europeanizing rural and backward Russia, at the time of mass migration from Europe to North America. Reconstructing the early history of the port and reclaiming Odessa’s Italianness, the author not simply restores the misrepresented past, but it places this little known 18th century Italian migration into the wide context of the general cultural role of Italians in Europe. The Odessa Italian colony adds to the other Italian European cultural contributions ... Telling the Italian Odessa story, the author deals with the phenomenon of European urbanism as a universal cultural sign, problems of transfer of Italian cultural traditions, their art, music, sculpture, painting, architecture and civic governance, next to banking, supervision of customs and foreign trade. The urban and cultural history of Europe, both Western and Eastern, is inseparable from Italy and Italians, and this is the context into which Dr. Makolkin places her research ... This remarkable book has the most balanced thematic range, dealing not only with Imperial foreign and domestic politics, urban, military affairs and diplomacy, professional performance of different Italians but having substantial well-researched chapters on Italian language, opera, music, religious life and architecture. Historians of music and theater will be interested in the Odessa’s Italian operatic tradition, the legacy of Rossini and Cimarosa, performances of Tati and Brambilla, Fabbri and Guerini, Salvini and Duse, Ristori and Di Grasso and the lasting impact of Italian music on the cultural ethos of Odessa. The Italianness has forever shaped the Odesseans, imparting the aesthetic sensibility, the elegance, taste in music, attitude to life, their wit and specific speech.” – (from the Commendatory Preface) Michael Ukas, Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto
Table of Contents
ISBN10: 0-7734-6272-4 ISBN13: 978-0-7734-6272-4