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The Literary Encyclopedia


Giovanni Verga was the most important Italian novelist of the second half of the nineteenth century and one of the masters of modern European literature. However, despite his contribution to the development of the novel, he is still relatively unknown to the English-speaking world. Italian critics generally associate Verga with verismo, a movement similar to French Naturalism, even though the Sicilian author always refused to be identified with any particular literary trend. In a letter to his friend and critic Felice Cameroni, written in 1878, Verga explains his poetics in a simple but convincing way: “I have always attempted to be true to life, without being either a realist or an idealist or a Romantic or anything else, and if I erred and did not succeed, too bad for me, but such was always my intention” (Giovanni Verga, 47).


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