“’Buffalo Bill: The Italian Hero of the Prairies’: A Fascist Twist on Americanization in Italy,” Renee M. Laegreid, University of Wyoming

William Cody performed throughout Italy in 1890 and again in 1906; his popularity encouraged the translation of American dime novels, and later, of novels and fumetti (similar to dime novels), written by Italian authors. This presentation examines the factors shaping the reception and translation of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West’s American iconography from his initial performance in 1890 to the 1939 introduction of the “Buffalo Bill: The Italian Hero of the Prairies.” Rather than a straightforward process of Americanization, the concerns of the new Italian state confronting the challenges of modernity contributed to Cody’s memory being embraced, rebuffed and reconfigured. In 1939, the familiar hero, Buffalo Bill, became co-opted into the service of Italian nationalism, as the Fascist regime appropriated his contributions to US colonization of the frontier West and applied them to further the Italian imperialist agenda in Ethiopia.

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