Giovanni Verga Long Fiction Analysis
Giovanni Verga’s first novels were romantic, predictable, and superficial. His masterpieces of verism were written between 1880 and 1890, and for the last thirty years of his life, though full of good intentions, he produced relatively little. In one of his earliest novels, A Mortal Sin, which could be called an autobiography of wish fulfillment (in the story, a young Sicilian, footloose in the big city, both achieves literary fame and wins the beautiful woman he loves), the author strives for a veneer of realism by claiming that his story comes from authentic documents that have come into his possession. Although Verga in his maturity would disown this novel, the writer’s task to re-create reality is already taken seriously in it. Sparrow tells the story of a young girl forced to become a nun against her will, in the manner of Denis Diderot’s The Nun (1796). For years Verga’s most widely read novel, Sparrow consists of letters allegedly written by the girl herself. The blackcap of the title is a fragile bird Verga claims to have seen once and been reminded of later when he learned the girl’s story.
In the preface to Eva, Verga again asserts the veracity of what he writes, although this time not insisting that it is true, but rather that it could have happened. Although the character of Eva is lost in the bombast of the novel’s conventionalities, Eva’s speech is precise and reflects her...
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