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Title:Giovanni Verga e la nuova italia: Storia e letteratura nella narrativa verghiana
Author(s):Di Zenzo, Raffaele
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Musumeci, Antonino
Department / Program:Spanish, Italian and Portuguese
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, Modern
Literature, Romance
Abstract:I Malavoglia by Giovanni Verga is one of the most important novels of modern Italian literature, in part for its new form of language in harmony with its content.
The unification of Italy in 1860 gave rise to a new ruling class, the bourgeoisie. This emerging class, with its own political and economic interests, aspired to gain control of municipal and provincial administrations, thus imposing its yoke on less privileged citizens. All this resulted in the betrayal of the Risorgimento ideals of personal and political freedoms.
Verga experienced these events as they occurred in his native Sicily. Life in Aci Trezza--emblematic for any other little town in Italy--changed dramatically because of taxes, military conscription, emigration, and a new social code: accumulation of wealth.
This study intends to show that Verga gradually matured into his literary method of verismo with his friend Luigi Capuana, a writer and critic of Desanctisian extraction. Francesco De Sanctis, in his major work The History of Italian Literature, saw literature as a reflection of its historical time and as an expression of the social conscience. From the realism of De Sanctis and the French naturalism of Emile Zola, Capuana and Verga developed their theory of verismo.
Verga proceeded from the Desanctisian concept of conte-nuto-forma in creating the vision of real life reproduced in the written form. As with all great writers, the integration of experience and language constitutes the originality of his literary method. In this style Verga wrote his major works: the Novelle, Mastro-don Gesualdo, and especially I Malavoglia, in which he reconstructed life in Aci Trezza while he was living in Milan. However, Verga's affinity with the language and aspirations of the people is not a sign of condescending commiseration, but of a desire for total liberation from their self-destructive social environment and the ills of the Bourbons heritage. Thus his desire for a new and democratic Italy, begun with his early works, is fulfilled.
Although verismo was mainly a regional phenomenon, it rejuvenated Italian literature. This new way of writing became the substratum for a second Scuola Siciliana and a new narrative style used by many writers, especially by those from the Mezzo-giorno, such as De Roberto, Pirandello, D'Annunzio, Deledda, Silone, Lampedusa, Vittorini, Alvaro, Sciascia and others who, like Verga, excavated deep into the soul of their land to find moral and poetic human values.
Issue Date:1991
Rights Information:Copyright 1991 Di Zenzo, Raffaele
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9210784
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9210784

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