RESHAPING MEMORY: BUFALINO, CONSOLO AND THE SICILIAN TRADITION

in The New Georgics
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This essay discusses the relationship between Sicilian literary tradition and the landscape in the works of two contemporary Sicilian writers, Bufalino and Consolo. Here there is no tendency to an epic glorification of the past, or to the idealisation of an idyllic, a-historical countryside. This is partly due to the fact that modernisation is far from completed, and the old still coexists with the new; but the main reason probably is the violent imprint of history on the land: an inescapable history of repeated invasions, and in this century, of disastrous exploitation of the rural area by the mafia. Writing about Sicily is necessarily polyphonic, as Consolo and Bufalino show, each in his own way: its complex reality is mediated through different narrators with contradicting stories and versions of history, different genres, literary and non-literary, and an intertextuality which transgresses regional boundaries. The language developed in literature, with its mixture of dialects and official Italian, testifies to the complexities of Sicily’s regional position. Rewriting history from a Sicilian location, Bufalino’s and Consolo’s work interestingly appears both regional and European, far more than Italian.

The New Georgics

Rural and Regional Motifs in the Contemporary European Novel

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