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Hitler in Rome 2: The Führer as Ruin Gazer, 1938

Hitler in Rome 2: The Führer as Ruin Gazer, 1938

(p.378) Twenty-Two Hitler in Rome 2: The Führer as Ruin Gazer, 1938
The Conquest of Ruins
Julia Hell
University of Chicago Press

This chapter revisits Hitler’s Rome visit as the moment when Hitler performed the mimesis of the empire’s end on Mussolini’s neo-Augustan stage. The author begins with Hitler’s entry route, modeled on the triumphal entries of earlier emperors. She then focuses on Hitler’s carriage ride through Rome’s historic center as the staging of the imperial ruin gazer in the capital of the imperial past. She concludes this analysis of Hitler’s nighttime ride with an in-depth analysis of this scene of ruin contemplation, paying particular attention to the mise-en-scène of the imperial sovereign and the power of his gaze. With this analysis of Hitler’s paradigmatic act of ruin contemplation, the book returns to the scopic dimensions of the ruin gazer scenario and the core issues of scopic mastery discussed in chapter 12. The author concludes with general reflections on neo-Roman mimesis as the imperial sovereign’s confrontation with the Roman Empire’s death, and the defining features of the Nazis’ ruin scenes. This conclusion elaborates on the discussion of mimesis and death masks in chapter 6.

Keywords:   Adolph Hitler, Rome visit, scopic mastery, mimesis, death masks

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