Sparrow : A Novel Cover Image

About the Author: Giovanni Verga

Giovanni Verga was an Italian realist writer, best known for his depictions of life in Sicily, and especially for the short story Cavalleria Rusticana and the novel I Malavoglia.

The first son of Giovanni Battista Catalano Verga and Caterina Di Mauro, Verga was born into a prosperous family of Catania in Sicily. He began writing in his teens, producing the largely unpublished historical novel Amore e Patria (Love and Country); then, although nominally studying law at the University of Catania, he used money his father had given him to publish his I Carbonari della Montagna (The Carbonari of the Mountain) in 1861 and 1862. This was followed by Sulle Lagune (In the Lagoons) in 1863.

Meanwhile, Verga had been serving in the Catania National Guard (1860-64), after which he travelled to Florence several times, settling there in 1869.
He moved to Milan in 1872, where he developed his new approach, characterized by the use of dialogue to develop character, which resulted in his most significant works. In 1880 his story collection Vita dei Campi (Life in the Fields), (including Fantasticheria, La Lupa, and Pentolacchia) most of which were about rural Sicily, came out; it included the Cavalleria Rusticana, which was adapted for the theatre and later the libretto of the Mascagni opera. Verga's short story, "Malaria", was one of the first literary depictions of the disease.

He then embarked on a projected series of five novels, but only completed two, I Malavoglia and Mastro-Don Gesualdo (1889), the latter of which was the last major work of his literary career. Both are widely recognized as masterpieces.
In 1894 Verga moved back to the house he was born in. In 1920 he was elected a senator. He died of a cerebral thrombosis in 1922.

The Teatro Verga in Catania is named after him.

In the book by Silvia Iannello Le immagini e le parole dei Malavoglia (Sovera, Roma, 2008), the author selects some passages of the Giovanni Verga' novel I Malavoglia, adds original comments and Acitrezza' photographic images, and devotes a chapter to the origins, remarks and frames taken from the immortal movie La terra trema (1948) directed by Luchino Visconti.


Sparrow : A Novel Cover Image

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Goodreads rating: 3.68

Paperback, Published in Aug 2009 by Italica Press

ISBN10: 0934977429 | ISBN13: 9780934977425

Page count: 130

SET IN and around Catania, Sicily, on the verge of the Italian Risorgimento, Sparrow, first published as "Storia di una capinera" in 1870, tells the story of Maria, the daughter of a low-level bureaucrat, like so many other young women of the time, forced into the convent by economic and social forces. After a brief - and almost imaginary - flirtation with the son of neighbors forced together with her family during a cholera epidemic, Maria is sent back into the convent, there to go from disappointed love, to broken health, madness, and death. Verga creates a tour-de-force of emotional intensity that represents one of the late flowerings of the Romantic movement and opens the door to the Realism of the late nineteenth century. Deeply emotional in its revelation, yet bitterly ironic in its criticism of Bourbon Italy's oppression of women, Sparrow still has the capacity to fascinate and outrage while it delights the reader with the bravado of Verga's fictional constructions.

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