Place in Literature: Regions, Cultures, Communities

By Roberto M. Dainotto | Go to book overview

The Dialectic of Region and Nation
Giovanni Gentile, Particular Italian

Archimede, Empedocle, Teocrito, Diodoro,
sono glorie del genere umano, ma bisogna
confessare che un pochino sono pure siciliani . . .

— MICHELE AMARI, quoted by Giovanni Gentile

Professors and cardinals, ministers and friends, deputies and notables, scientists and hacks, philosophers and mafiosi — not even all the forces the Sicilian philosopher Giovanni Gentile could recruit, in 1898, in search of the ultimate raccomandazione, could gain him the coveted professorship at the prestigious "Liceo Garibaldi" of Palermo. Aurelio Covotti, a Florentine scholar of alleged great erudition, illustrious representative of the "historical method" — the critica storica — fashionable at the time, refused to leave the chair he was already occupying there — unless, that is, Gentile, "Sicilian and therefore mafioso," could obtain for him a professorship "in Rome or Florence, or at least Turin" in exchange. 1.

Writing to Donato Jaja, his beloved professor of philosophy in Pisa,

____________________
1.
Gentile's letter to Jaja of August 17, 1898, in Giovanni Gentile and Donato Jaja, Carteggio, ed. Maria Sandirocco (Firenze: Sansoni, 1969), book 1,146; all translations mine, unless otherwise noted.

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