Sicily is the mythic island… Homer’s epic hero Ulysses was attracted to Sicily by the song of the mermaids while he made his long return home.
The island’s triangular shape and its location in the middle of the Mediterranean has been a source of strong attraction. The most appealing thing about this island is the wide range of landscapes that can be found. These include hills and valleys, as well as the dramatic and active nature of volcanoes. It’s both hellish and beautiful at the same moment.
Its three sides are almost identical to those of the emerging continents: Africa Asia Europe. Nobody has ever passed through Sicily without leaving a trace of his journey, genetically or otherwise. The Sicilian is not distinguished by its distinctive features, such as being dark, oriental, Arab or blonde, and tall with red hair and green eyes.
So, literature is so diverse and many. Literature is long, complex, and baroque. It cannot be called “Sicilian”, but European; dry, vigorous, like described by one of its fathers, Giovanni Verga. He is the disputed writer between Vizzini where it is believed he was born, and Catania where his birth was officially registered and where the house where he stayed.
The Verismo’s father, the great writer, reinvented the Italian language by giving it a taste of dialect. It is a language that lives, loves, suffers, and inspires the characters in his works. His best works are MastroDon Gesualdo, which were made into a great Italian fiction by Giacomo Vaccari. I Malavoglia was set in Acitrezza by Luchino Visconti. The Cavalleria Rusticana is played by the great Mascagni and introduces Verga to the world.
Without their poetic universe of places and sets, all the great Sicilian writers would be impossible. This is also true for Luigi Capuana, a great writer from Mineo in Catania, and a prolific author with many interests. He was a huge literary giant and a very productive author. Verga was also bounded by a close friendship and shared common ideals.
Federico De Roberto created the Verismo which, in some ways, borrows from the french naturalism. In his novel I Vicere, De Roberto gives a detailed account of Catania, as well as the style used. He focuses on the Monastero dei Benedettini and the large family of Uzeda princes. A choral novel and a saga made up of three great novels.
People born in Sicily seem to have a thinking-writing incontinence. This is connected to a historical pessimistic, melancholy and makes them disillusioned, resistant to change, and curious about new innovations made by the winds. Calati iuncu ca passa la china! (Lean over, little cane! The river is flooding!
It is like tracing a writer’s itinerary on a rich, geo-literary map.
Vitaliano Brancati was a writer, and was born in Pachino near Syracuse . He was a Catania native, and was responsible for his literature studies and living. As the father of the saga galllismo, he used humor to mock the supermanhood that fascism had, by cloaking him with the Sicilian playful habit.
Let’s start at Capo Passero and move on to Capo Peloro. In Ali Terme close to Messina. This is the city where the golden dock meets the seafarers reaching its shores. It was here that Stefano d’Arrigo, the author of the Horcynus Orca, a detailed account about the hard life of Sicilian fishermen, was born.
We find ourselves in Messina in Roccalumera and we discover the life places of Salvatore Quasimodo. This representative poet of European Hermetism tells us, in his verses about the themes existential loneliness, exile from our birth land, where the island is the embleme for the lost happiness.
A sleepy and luxurious Palermo is the capital of the island. Here we discover its own universe: Muslim and Federico II, Spain viceroyalty cosmopolitan and anarchic, breathtaking of beauty, and old of opulence. Many noble families wanted to reside there.