Luigi Capuana (May 28, 1839 - November 29, 1915) was an Italian author and journalist and one of the most important members of the Verist movement. He was a contemporary of Giovanni Verga, both having been born in the province of Catania within a year of each other. He was also one of the first authors influenced by the works of Emile Zola, French author and creator of Naturalism. Capuana also wrote poetry in Sicilian, of which an example appears below.
He was the author of plays (Garibaldi, Vanitas Vanitatum, Parodie, Semiritmi), stories (Studi sulla letteratura contemporanea, Per l'arte, Gli "ismi" contemporanei, Cronache letterarie, Il teatro italiano contemporaneo), novels (Giacinta, Marchesa di Roccaverdina, La sfinge, Profumo, Rassegnazione) and various other theatral works.
'What follows is the beginning of a translation from the Italian wikipedia page (which will be updated):
His origins and schooling
Luigi Capuana was born at Mineo, in the Province of Catania. His family was well-off, and owned property in the area. He went to the local school.
In 1851 he enrolled in the Royal College of Bronte, Catania, but left after only 2 years because of bad health. However he continued to study by teaching himself.
After graduating he enrolled in 1857, in the Faculty of Law at Catania, but abandoned this in 1860 in order to take part in Garibaldi's Risorgimento as the secretary of the Secret Committee of Insurrection in Mineo, and, following that, as the chancellor of the nascent civic council.
In 1861 he released the legendary drama in three cantos, Garibaldi, published in Catania by Galatola. In 1864 he settled in Florence to begin his "literary adventure" and would remain there until 1868. In Florence he made the acquaintance of, and kept in touch with, the most notable Italian authors of the era (including Aleardo Aleardi); and in 1865 he published his first critical essays in the "Italian Review", in 1866 becoming theatre critic for "Nation". In 1867 he published, serially in a Florentine daily, his first novella, entitled Dr. Cymbalus which took Dumas fils' La boîte d'argent as a model.
Return to Sicily
In 1868 Capuana returned to Sicily planning a brief stay, but his father's death and economic hardship anchored him to the island. He works as a school inspector and later as council counselor of Mineo, until he is elected as mayor of the town.
During these years he learned more about Hegel's idealist philosophy, and was especially inspired by "Dopo la Laurea", an essay by positivist and hegelian doctor Angelo Camillo De Meis, who had developed a theory on the evolution and death of literary genres.
Catania: work at university and death
In 1902 Capuana moved to Catania to lecture lexicography and stylistics at the local university.
His last literary works included "Coscienze" (1905), "Nel paese di Zàgara" (1910), "Gli Americani di Rabbato" (1912).
Capuana died in Catania on the 29th november 1915, shortly after Italy entered the First World War.
Example of his poetry in Sicilian
Sta notti... (Tonight)
|Sicilian ||English |
|Sta notti mi sunnai quattru funtani, ||Tonight I dreamt of four fountains |
|Quattru pedi d'aranciu a lu ciuriri; ||Of four orange trees about to blossom; |
|Vitti li stiddi scinniri e acchianari, ||I saw the stars descend and ascend; |
|Vitti lu suli comu un lebbru jiri; ||I saw the sun run like a hare; |
|Vitti n'aquila fina a lu vulari, ||I saw a fine eagle ready to soar, |
|Vitti lu cori tò npettu viniri; ||I saw your heart come into my breast; |
|Ca siddu mi putieva arrisbigghiari, ||And could I have awakened, |
|Nun ti l'avissi cchiù lassatu jiri. ||I would never have let you go. |
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