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Title: The Ibsenite Nature of Pirandello's Sicilianita and Joyce's Irishness : the cultures they fled, the contexts and metaphors that inspired them
Authors: Chircop, Karl
Keywords: Nationalism and literature -- Ireland
Nationalism and literature -- Sicily
Pirandello, Luigi, 1867-1936. Vecchi e i giovani -- Criticism and interpretation
Joyce, James, 1882-1941 -- Criticism and interpretation
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: University of Malta. Junior College
Citation: Symposia Melitensia. 2013, Vol.9, p. 93-101
Abstract: Joyce's Irishness and Pirandello's Sicilianita (the Sicilian identity) seem to be negative ideas characterized by a sense of evasion and by an Ibsenite realism keen on unmasking the hypocritical Irish and Sicilian middle class society. Even though geographically distant, their Modernist Irishness and Sicilianita reveal quite a curious number of political, religious, linguistic, and social affinities: the stasis of the positive progress of history in Sicily and Ireland; the grudge towards foreign colonial rule (the AngloSaxon rule in Ireland, the neglect of Sicily by the Northern oriented governments in Rome); the self-induced exiles of both writers; the betrayal of their great political ideals (the fall of Parnell , the failed Irish initiatives for independence; the Roman Bank Scandal, the violent repression of the Fasci Siciliani revolution, the failures of the democratic governments); the stifling moral and political implications of a Catholic Ireland and a Catholic Sicily; the dilemmas of the Irish-English language in Ireland and the choice between the Standard Italian and the Sicilian dialects in Sicily. In this context, the cities of Dublin, Agrigento, and the sulphur depot port of Porto Empedocle in Sicily become claustrophobic landmarks which influence ontologically and existentially the two writers and their works. Both cultures attempt to cast over them not only the influence of an archaic heritage -the Celtic culture in Ireland and the Magna Graecia in Sicily -but also literary models which they end up refusing openly: Joyce denounces the Irish Literary Revival as promulgated by Yeats and Lady Gregory; Pirandello discards the position of the Sicilian Verismo masters like Giovanni Verga and Luigi Capuana. These issues are exposed in the Irish and Sicilian identities which Stephen Dedalus (both in A Portrait and in Ulysses), Don Cosmo, and Lando Laurentano (in the enigmatic novel I Vecchi e i Giovani) attempt to flee. Irishness and Sicilianita become not only 'a nightmare' from which Stephen is trying to awaken, but also a reality which 'does not conclude' according to Don Cosmo Laurentano, the exile who 'has understood the rules of the game'.
ISSN: 1812-7509
Appears in Collections:Scholarly Works - JCIta
SymMel, 2013, Volume 9
SymMel, 2013, Volume 9

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