Abstract The novel Malombra (1881) by Antonio Fogazzaro was produced as a film in 1917, directed by Carmine Gallone with diva Lyda Borelli in the title role. Malombra was remade as a sound film in 1942, directed by Mario Soldati and starring
Isa Miranda as Malombra. A symptomatic analysis of the novel, the silent film and its remake illuminates the cultural, political, economic and social transformations that transpired between the Italian silent and sound cinema and between different moments in the rise, consolidation and collapse
of Fascism in Italy. The cinematic treatment of the two actresses is pivotal for understanding the character and quality of these changes. The differing treatments of Borelli and Miranda depend largely on a shift from the phenomenon of divismo to a familiar version of stardom that entails
mechanical reproduction and modernity, involving femininity, the body, gesture and the expression of emotion.
Journal of Romance Studies promotes innovative critical work in the areas of linguistics, literature, performing and visual arts, media, material culture, intellectual and cultural history, critical and cultural theory, psychoanalysis, gender studies, social sciences, and anthropology. The primary focus is on those parts of the world that speak, or have spoken, French, Italian, Spanish or Portuguese, but work on other cultures may be included. Issues cross national and disciplinary boundaries in order to stimulate new ways of thinking about cultural history and practice.