Place in Literature: Regions, Cultures, Communities

By Roberto M. Dainotto | Go to book overview

Fifty Ways to Kill Turiddu
Lawrence, Translator of Verga

There are fifty ways . . .

— PAUL SIMON, "Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover"

Ah . . . le canzonette? Roba che non
riempie la pancia, cari miei!

— GIOVANNI VERGA, Mastro don Gesualdo

England, 1912: The strike at Preston is over, and social unrest seems under the control of reason and the spirit of the law. Class conflicts have been partly sedated, and a rational peace now reigns over the vast stretches of the north. With the marriage of southern humanism and northern capitalism, an urbanized dialogue has begun: the new reformatory parliaments have, like Mr. Thornton, started to listen to Nicholas Higgins. The most restless souls have been brought to reason and convinced of the imperatives of production. "The most outward features of a modern age," Matthew Arnold declared in his 1857 lecture ("On the Modern Element in Literature"), "is the banishment of the ensigns of war and bloodshed from the intercourse of civil life."1. The homo homini lupus has thus been sacrificed at the altar of

____________________
1.
Matthew Arnold, Selected Prose, ed. P. J. Keating ( Harmondsworth, Eng.: Penguin, 1970), 62.

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