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Conversations in Sicily av Elio Vittorini
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Conversations in Sicily (urspr publ 1941; utgåvan 2000)

av Elio Vittorini (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
551632,232 (3.67)27
Vividly capturing the heat, sounds and smells of southern Italy, Conversations in Sicily astounds with its modernity, lyricism and originality. Driven by a sense of total disconnection, the narrator embarks on a journey from northern Italy to Sicily, the home he has not seen in some fifteen years. Through the conversations of the islanders and a reunion with his mother, he gradually begins to feel reconnected. But to what kind of world? Written during Mussolini's time in power, Conversations in Sicily is one of the great novels of anti-fascism.… (mer)
Medlem:MARizzo72
Titel:Conversations in Sicily
Författare:Elio Vittorini (Författare)
Info:New Directions (2000), 144 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
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Conversations in Sicily av Elio Vittorini (1941)

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» Se även 27 omnämnanden

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  ScarpaOderzo | Apr 13, 2020 |
When you are reading this at a far-remove from 1930's Italy it is probably easy to just take it as a quirky travelogue rather than as "one of the great novels of Italian anti-fascism" as it is described in the book's English translation promo.

As a first-time reader I was constantly second-guessing the various statements and incidents for their possible meanings, some of which were more blatant than others e.g. [Not so obvious] when the narrator says that he can only read dictionaries now is that meant to imply that all other books have been censored by the regime?; why does the narrator pretend to be from New York City when he is on the ferryboat?; when the little Sicilian on the ferry and at the wharf says that Sicilian oranges are treated on the international markets as if they are poisoned is the fruit meant as a symbol of the regime?; [More obvious] the whiskered and non-whiskered policemen standing in the train corridor, having overheard the little Sicilian talk about oranges, discuss whether he should have been arrested; when the big Lombard enters the train compartment he shuts the door while complaining of the "stink" from the corridor (where the policemen are); etc.

The fascist censors had difficulty as well, as they let it pass in its original serialized magazine printings from 1936-1938 and allowed its original book publication in 1941, until finally arresting and imprisoning the author in 1942.

Hemingway's attraction to its modernist stylings esp. the Gertrude Stein-like repetition effects, is more obvious. His foreword has been used in the English translation publications since 1949 including in this 2000 translation by Alane Salierno Mason.

Trivia:
- the unspecified war that is often referred to is presumably the 2nd Italo-Ethiopian War of 1934-36 based on the book having been written in 1936-38: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Italo-Ethiopian_War
- the book was filmed in 1999 as "Sicilia!", some non-subtitled excerpts are available on YouTube such as the "La Puzza" (The Stink) train scene at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnuVIWOrGDg ( )
1 rösta alanteder | Jan 23, 2017 |
”Jeg var besat af et ubestemmeligt raseri hele den vinter. Jeg skal ikke komme ind på af hvad art, dette raseri var, det er ikke det, jeg har sat mig for at fortælle om. Jeg vil blot nævne, at det var et ubestemmeligt raseri, og at det hverken var heroisk eller særlig voldsomt…” (s. 5)

Sådan åbner Samtale på Sicilien. Fortælleren, Silvestro Ferrauto, er en mand på knap 30 år, der er blevet overvældet af meningsløshed over for verden omkring ham. Ja, der er også raseri, men først og fremmest er der ligegyldighed. Han driver rundt i Milano, da han efter en pludselig indskydelse springer på et tog til Syrakus på Sicilien. Det bliver en rejse tilbage i tiden til den ø, hvor han voksede op, men som han ikke har set i 15 år.

I starten ligner det en lykkelig bevægelse mod fortidens simplere og mere meningsfulde tilværelse. Han begejstres over den sicilianske ost – tanken om de lokale fødevarers fortrin er bestemt ikke ny – men konfronteres også straks med den udbredte fattigdom, der fik så mange til at udvandre til det fjerne Amerika eller resten af Italien. Genopdagelsen af fortiden tager for alvor fart, da han kommer hjem til moderen, men det gør de ubehagelige minder også. Faderen har forladt hende, og hun angriber ham nådesløst for at være en klynker, for at være en kvindebedårer og for ikke at være en rigtig mand. Som det er set så mange gange senere, så går forældrenes kampe ud over børnene.

Så langt befinder romanen sig stort set inden for en realistisk tradition, men den drejer af mod det mere usandsynlige med meget åbenhjertige diskussioner med moderen om utroskab, en dialog på kirkegården, der til fulde lever op til faderens begejstring for Shakespeares brug af spøgelser, og et druklag med en skærsliber, en tøjhandler og krovært. Bag det hele lurer tabet af en bror, der rejste ud med samme eventyrlyst som Silvestro, men som mødte sit endeligt i krigens rædsler.

Det motiv har givetvis været nærliggende for Vittorini, da han skrev bogen omkring 1940 som en mere eller mindre skjult kritik af fascismen, og den diskussion er selvfølgelig stadig relevant. Fortællingen gjorde bare ikke det store indtryk på mig, og selvom åbningen var stærk, så blev min interesse mindre efterhånden som handlingen flyttede sig fra det konkrete til det arketypiske og mytologiske. ( )
  Henrik_Madsen | Oct 17, 2016 |
Thoroughly enjoyable. Every ten pages or so resolve themselves in little narrative paradoxes that reminded me of Zen koans. It's not hard to see why Hemingway was attracted to it. Moreover, it filled out the Sicilian landscape for me that I was already used to from Sciascia, Pirandello and Verga. ( )
1 rösta William345 | Jun 11, 2014 |
I read Conversation in Sicily when I was a sophomore in college and really enjoyed it. That's getting long enough ago that I can't always remember exactly why I enjoyed certain books, but I'm starting to realize that if the book still stands out in my mind, it's probably because I really liked it. I remembered was that it was the story of a man who goes back to his childhood home in Sicily and talks to a series of people, and I thought since it had a lot of conversation, it would be a good book for me to read as I learn Italian. So, this time I read Conversazione in Sicilia, in italiano! It was a joy to read in its original language.

Vittorini writes of a man, Salvatore, who returns to his Sicilian home after 15 years in the north to visit his mother, who has recently been abandoned by his Shakespeare-loving father. He talks to some people on the train, including a poor farm laborer who mistakes him for an American. He also sees two police officers, referred to in the text as "Coi baffi" and "Senza baffi" (With and Without moustaches), who are derided by the other passengers. When he arrives to his mother's town, he finds her and eats a herring with her. They talk about the past, with his romantic memories of childhood contrasting with her recollection of poverty and hunger in railroad houses of southern Italy. She takes him along with her on her rounds as she goes from house to house giving injections to sick people. They visit a series of poor families with very little to eat and then visit the homes of two wealthier women, who joke with Salvatore and his mother and pretend to be afraid of letting Salvatore see them receive their shots. He then grows restless and decides to walk off, meeting a series of men whom he befriends, repetitively talking about "il mondo offeso" with each new interlocutor. The group ends up getting quite drunk on wine at the bar and Salvatore stumbles away, having a strange encounter with a ghost-like man who lurks in the shadows of the graveyard before waking up the next morning back at his mother's house. He walks through town crying, then comes back home once more before leaving Sicily.

One of the things that I admired most about this book was its vivid depiction of Sicily as a tremendously beautiful place, but also as a place full of poverty and suffering. On the one hand, the mountainous rural landscape, the sounds of music and ringing bells floating through the air, and the natural beauty of the women contribute to a rather wonderful and romantic image of southern Italy. This beauty is contrasted with the struggles of the Sicilians with whom Salvatore converses. There is a lot of talk of hunger, and the people that Salvatore meets often eat scavenged food such as snails and herbs from the countryside, if they have food to eat at all. The man he meets on the train talks about how nobody has money to buy his oranges, which is why he has nothing to eat except these same oranges that he can't sell. Salvatore, as an outsider in his homeland, struggles to make sense of the suffering that he sees, and wonders, along with his partners in conversation, why the world is the way it is. I thought the balance between the two extremes of beauty and suffering was excellent. Many depictions of the third world (because this Sicily of the 1930s certainly felt like the third world) seem to either emphasize either the romance and exotic beauty of foreign lands or dwell on the horrible suffering and oppression of the lower classes. This account of Sicily felt very, very realistic because it included both sides of the coin. Salvatore, in his return to his homeland, is especially attuned to the beauty of the land because it is intertwined with childhood memories. He is also especially attuned to the suffering because, as a man who has moved to a different and more prosperous place, he is now seeing the struggles that he was perhaps not fully aware of as a child.

More than half a century removed from the events of World War II in Italy and in Europe as a whole, the political message of the text floated somewhat above my head until the later stages of the book, when Silvestro leaves his mother and meets the individuals who represent different political archetypes of the period. I enjoyed this part of the book, where the interlocutors revolved around statements about the world and how "è grande ed è bello, ma è molto offeso." I enjoyed how each of the characters that Salvatore meets represent different views (the revolutionary Calogero, the consolatory Ezechiele, the Catholic Porfirio and the intellectual Colombo), but their conversation is made up of repeated and agreed-upon statements on the ways of the world. Their differences were not in how they saw the world, but in how they felt about it, and where they thought redemption or change might be found.

Finally, I might mention that this book was entirely appropriate for an Italian language learner. The language was simple and forceful, with a great deal of repetition of both names, descriptions and statements. The words that I learned through reading this book, I learned well, because they kept on reappearing throughout the text. So as a learning tool, it was excellent, and I would recommend it to anyone who is learning Italian. ( )
7 rösta msjohns615 | Sep 17, 2010 |
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» Lägg till fler författare (24 möjliga)

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Elio Vittoriniprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
David, WilfridÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Falaschi, GiovanniInledningmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Guttuso, RenatoIllustratörmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Hemingway, ErnestInledningmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Pautasso, SergioBidragsgivaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Sanguineti, EdoardoInledningmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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Vividly capturing the heat, sounds and smells of southern Italy, Conversations in Sicily astounds with its modernity, lyricism and originality. Driven by a sense of total disconnection, the narrator embarks on a journey from northern Italy to Sicily, the home he has not seen in some fifteen years. Through the conversations of the islanders and a reunion with his mother, he gradually begins to feel reconnected. But to what kind of world? Written during Mussolini's time in power, Conversations in Sicily is one of the great novels of anti-fascism.

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