Notebook February 2015
The other Italy
Elena Ferrante’s novels reveal the violent state of Southern Italy.
Garbage piles up in Naples. via
“There are two Italies,” Percy Shelley complained in 1818. One was “the most sublime and lovely contemplation that can be conceived by the imagination of man”: the aesthetic Italy of “the green earth and the transparent sea,” the “mighty ruins” and “aerial mountains.” The other Italy, the actual one, was “degraded, disgusting, and odious.” So were its people, the “Italians of the present day.” The men were “a tribe of stupid...
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