This anthologised collection of love letters is brought to a wider reading public thanks to a collaboration between the Archivio di Stato and La Sapienza University in Rome, and represents a welcome addition to the histories of emotions, gender and social history, the history of private lives, memory studies, and life writing in Italy from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries. Consisting of sets of letters housed in public or private archives and with each section introduced by a scholar or family member, it offers an important platform for analysing affect and phatic expression in a selection of correspondence by exceptional figures (e.g. Franca Rame to Dario Fo; Sidney Sonnino and Palma Bucarelli to their respective lovers) and between ordinary heterosexual couples, betrothed or adulterous. Due to the remit of Modern Italy, this review will focus solely on the letters from the late eighteenth century onwards – a period in which letter writing began to be practised as never before among the increasingly educated lower-middle classes.
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