The essay aims at analyzing the discursive identity of brigandage in Southern Italy during the XIX century. The author establishes a constant dialogue between Alexandre Dumas’ masterpieces and many cultural representations which have deeply inspired his stylistic and interpretive perspectives, or, on the contrary, that the writer has helped to change. The essay begins with the analysis of the stereotyped representation of the brigand with the "pointed hat", which derives from the overlap of literature and politics. The author also studies the identification of robbers as a criminal class. Therefore, the folkloristic dimension of the brigand, as well as its idealization as a romantic hero, are both connected to the imagery of metropolitan crime in the first half of the XIX century. Lastly, the author demonstrates how brigand’s representations are reshaped by political conflict during the Italian Risorgimento, leading to a process of idealisation in the pre-Unitarian era and of criminalization in post-Unitarian years.
Keywords: Crime, brigandage, Alexandre Dumas, representations, Risorgimento, Southern Italy.