On 31 January 2015, when the life of William Klinger was tragically taken in New York, he was only 42. William was an alumnus of the History and Civilisation Department, where he graduated in 2007 with Prof. Raffaele Romanelli as supervisor. He was the husband of Francesca and the father of two children.
His EUI thesis, Negotiating the Nation: Fiume – from Autonomism to State-Making, 1861-1924, dedicated to Francesca, has now been made available in Open Access, as requested and wanted by the family of the author. William analysed here the interests, social groups and nationalistic discourses interplayed in the history of a port town, Rijeka (Fiume), focusing on nation-building in a multi-national reality.
On Cadmus, the research repository of the EUI, there are other two items by William. The first is a book, Germania e Fiume: la questione fiumana nella diplomazia tedesca (1921-1924), which stems from his thesis and elaborates on the diplomatic relationship between Rijeka and Germany, published in 2011.
The second posthumous book, Un’altra Italia: Fiume 1724-1924, was published very recently by the Centro di Ricerche Storiche di Rovigno and the Lega Nazionale di Trieste (2018). Edited by Diego Redivo, this volume is the published version of the thesis and a summary of the political history of Rijeka, supplemented by William’s extensive archival research. Last September, the directors of the Lega Nazionale di Trieste, Paolo Sardos Albertini, and of the Centro Ricerche Storiche di Rovigno, Giovanni Radossi, presented this work in Rijeka to the Italian community at Palazzo Modello, highlighting the cultural importance of William’s work.
The opening quotation of William’s thesis encapsulates his perspective:
Twofold is the coming into being, twofold the passing away, of perishable things; for the latter (i.e. passing away) the combining of all things both begets and destroys, and the former (i.e. coming into being), which was nurtured again out of parts that were being separated, is itself scattered. And these (elements) never cease changing place continually, now being all united by Love into one, now each borne apart by the hatred engendered of Strife, until they are brought together in the unity of the all, and become subject to it. Thus inasmuch as one has been wont to arise out of many and again with the separation of the one the many arise, so things are continually coming into being and there is no fixed age for them; and farther inasmuch as they [the elements] never cease changing place continually, so they always exist within an immovable circle. (Empedocles, Fragments and Commentary, Book I).