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Silvio Spaventa



Silvio Spaventa

Bomba (Chieti) 1822 - Roma 1893


Brother of Bertrando, statesman and liberal political thinker. Deputy to the Parliament of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in 1848, after the coup d’état by Ferdinand II he was condemned to death but the condemnation was commuted into a life sentence. Freed in 1859, he took part in the Parliament of the Kingdom of Italy with the political right, from 1861 to 1889, covering various ministries, and he became a senator in 1889. He played an important role in the repression of brigands in the south of Italy, and he was the author of a law to nationalise the railroad. Hegelian, he supported a strong State and the separation of the political and administrative spheres, opposing transformism and advocating a two-party system.

Main works: La politica della Destra, scritti e discorsi raccolti da B. Croce (Bari 1910).

Bibliography: E. Croce, Silvio Spaventa, Milano, Adelphi 1969; Silvio Spaventa: filosofia, diritto, politica, Napoli, Istituto italiano per gli studi filosofici 1991; B. Sordi, Silvio Spaventa, in Il Contributo italiano alla storia del Pensiero. Diritto, Roma, Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana 2012.



Biblioteca "A. Mai" di Bergamo, fondo Spaventa

At the death of Silvio Spaventa, his library (which included the library of his brother as well) was donated according to his will, together with his archives, to the A. Mai Library of Bergamo, city of which he was representative in the last years of his life. Shelved as a special collection (thousands of volumes), there is still the original inventory, where, however, the owner of each book is not indicated. Besides external clues (for example the glosses in some volumes) and the date of publication, the topic is the main criterion for identifying the two collections: the works on law, history and public law most probably belonged to Silvio. For the intellectual vicissitudes of the two brothers, and for their interest in philosophical and political thought, especially German, the library of the Spaventa brothers is one of the richest and most important special collections of 19th century Italy, particularly as regards the collection of foreign works and journals and of texts about the history of the Hegelian school of thought.

Studies on the library: N. Siciliani de Cumis, Herbart e herbartiani alla scuola di Bertrando Spaventa, in Studi su Labriola, Urbino, Argalìa 1976, pp. 89-161; S. Ricci, La biblioteca di Silvio Spaventa. Cultura e vita civile, in Silvio Spaventa politico e statista dell’Italia unita nei documenti della Biblioteca Civica "A. Mai", Bergamo 1990, pp. 473-523.


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last modify: 2015-12-15 17:07:34