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Language too tends to become more individual, to be embellished with all the half-tones which express half-feelings, with all the devices of the word which may give emphasis to the idea, in an era which, as a rule of good taste, insists on a pervasive formalism to mask a uniformity of feelings and ideas. In order for the artistic reproduction of these settings to be accurate, the norms of this analysis have to be scrupulously observed: one has to be sincere in order to show forth the truth, since form is as inherent in subject-matter as any part of the subject-matter itself is necessary to the explanation of the general argument.

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The fateful, endless and often wearisome and agitated path trod by humanity to achieve progress is majestic in its end result, seen as a whole and from afar. In the glorious light which clothes it, striving, greed and egoism fade away, as do all the weaknesses which go into the huge work, all the contradictions from whose friction the light of truth emerges.

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The result, for mankind, conceals all that is petty in the individual interests which produce it; it justifies them virtually as necessary means to the stimulating of the activity of the individual who is unconsciously co-operating to the benefit of all. Every impulse towards this intense universal activity, from the search for material well-being to the loftiest ambitions, is justified by the mere fact that it works towards the goal of this ceaseless process; and when one knows where this immense current of human activity is tending, one certainly does not ask how it gets there.

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Each, from the humblest to the highest, has played his part in the struggle for existence, for prosperity, for ambition — from the humble fisherman to the parvenu , to the intruder into the upper-classes and to the man of genius and firm will, who feels strong enough to dominate other men, to seize for himself that portion of public consideration which social prejudice denies him because of his illegitimate birth and who makes the law, despite himself being born outside the law; and to the artist who thinks he is following his ideal when he is in fact following another form of ambition.

The person observing this spectacle has no right to judge it; he has already achieved much if he manages to draw himself outside the field of struggle for a moment to study it dispassionately, and to render the scene clearly, in its true colours, so as to give a representation of reality as it was, or as it should have been.

On Sundays, when they went to church one behind the other, they were quite a troupe. He had quite a stock of such prudent sayings. So they went back to Aci Trezza in silence, with their heads down.

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The next day they all went back to the station at Aci Castello to see the convoy of conscripts on their way to Messina, and they waited over an hour behind the railings being jostled by the crowd. At last the train came, and they saw all those boys flapping their arms about, with their heads sticking out of the train windows, like cattle on their way to market. There was so much singing, laughing and general din that it was almost like the feast day at Trecastagni, and amid the hubbub and racket the earlier sense of pain was almost forgotten.

La Longa felt she personally had been cheated of her own goodbye; and for a long time afterwards, every time she met Sara in the square or at the wash-place, she turned her back on her.

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And when the onlookers had gone their own ways, there was just a group of women left, and the odd poor soul who carried on standing up against the railings without quite knowing why. He always did prefer loafing about of a Sunday to using that good pair of arms of his to earn an honest crust. Meanwhile it had been a bad year and fish had virtually to be given away like alms, now that Christians had learned to eat meat on Fridays like so many Turks.

Actually the lupins were not in the peak of condition; but they were the only ones in Trezza, and the artful Dumb-bell also knew that the Provvidenza was wasting good sun and water moored up there by the wash-place, not doing anything; that was why he persisted in acting dumb.

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This conversation took place at the door of Ognina church, on the first Sunday in September, the feast of the Virgin Mary, and all the people from the nearby villages were there, including compare Agostino Piedipapera, or Duckfoot, who was so bluff and blithe that he managed to bring about an agreement on the price of two onze and ten per salma , to be paid on the never at so much a month.

Written in and set in the Sicilian village of Aci Trezza in the s, Verga's novel charts the failing fortunes of the Malavoglia, a family of fisherfolk who are living through a period of political change following the country's annexation to Italy. The Malavoglias' inexorable slide is triggered by the decision of Padron 'Ntoni to buy a cargo of lupins on credit after a bad year of business, only to lose the precious cargo in a storm at sea.

The repayment of this debt leads to the loss of the family home, and all subsequent efforts to reclaim it are doomed.

The House by the Medlar-Tree by Giovanni Verga

The old values are dying and it is largely due to young 'Ntoni,exposed to the outside world during naval service and ever more dissatisfied by the life endured by the rest of Aci Trezza's charmingly loquacious inhabitants, that the family fortunes are never restored. A tragic 'account of the sort of disquiet visited upon a family Originally published in his native Italy in , Verga's poignant novel depicts the struggles of a Sicilian fishing community during the advent of industrialization.

Through a style reminiscent of Steinbeck, the author successfully combines lyrical prose beautifully translated by Judith Landry with an inspiring social commentary, highlighting the poverty suffered by provincial Sicilian communities under Garibaldi's rule. English editions of Verga's masterpiece are comparative scarce; that is why this reprint of Judith Landry's now classic translation from is particularly welcome. Contrary to the works of Verga's contemporary, Luigi Pirandello, who notoriously employed a syntax that sought to facilitate the job of his translators, Verga's prose is embedded in in the oral structure of the Sicilian parlata.

Yet Landry succeeds in making the English version not only entirely consistent with the original text but also pleasurable to read, without losing the solemn pace that echoes the rhythms of Greek tragedies. Giovanni Cecchetti Introduction.

I Malavoglia: (the house by the medlar tree)

Joyce Lagow 's review Jan 01, Read 2 times. Last read January 1, to December 23, The House by the Medlar Tree Giovanni Verga Giovanni Verga was a late 19th century Sicilian writer who was one of the wave of Italian literary realists in the verismo tradition. The Malavoglia have their own fishing boat, the Provvidenza, and the family has for generations been fishermen. The novel is an unsentimental description of the struggles of that family to survive. Through a series of misfortunes, the Malavoglia lose the house and the family comes apart.

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Verga used dialogue in a remarkably powerful way to tell the story in an unemotional, yet never detached fashion. Alfio, a young man in love with mena, is about the only redeeming male character. There is very little solidarity among the poor of this village, with all looking to gain advantage any way they can. There is a promise of hope at the end but no guarantee, since life is what it is: hard, demanding, remorseless and basically indifferent to human beings. The House by the Medlar Tree is considered a masterpiece of Italian literature.

Highly recommended. Reading Progress.