Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

San Lorenzo

San Lorenzo. Sicilian village in the Piani dei Colli district, between Monte Pellegrino and Monte Castellaccio, north of Palermo where the Villa Salina, home of Don Fabrizio Corbera, prince of Salina, stands. This fictitious residence is based on the actual Villa Lampedusa home of the author—a property that his great-grandfather Guilio Tomasi acquired in the 1840’s. Tomasi also inspired the character Don Fabrizio.

At his observatory from which he studies the stars, Don Fabrizio skeptically contemplates the dawn of the glorious new days that may bring his comfortable aristocratic order to an end. However, whatever changes come, he knows they will occur within a familiar context: One set of rulers will replace another, and the effect on most people will be minimal. His villa, enclosed within its own walls, is a distant, separate world, but one that is nonetheless part of a common landscape that has been punished by a crude, drugging sun that keeps all things in “servile immobility,” annulling every will. The dichotomy between psychological distance and social imperative is fundamental to the book’s themes of decadence and impending decline.


Donnafugata. Village in which the Corbera family country is estate located, three days’ journey by coach from the Villa Salina. The estate’s main residence is a “restless baroque” palace with so many rooms that the prince boasts he has not set foot in all of them. This fictitious little town is patterned after the real Santa Margherita di Bèlice, which lies in the northwestern corner of Agrigento province, called in the book by its original name of Girgenti.

An absentee landowner and city dweller by choice, Don Fabrizio likes to stay here three months each year. He has a proud sense of feudal...

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(Great Characters in Literature)

Butcher, Danny. Review of The Leopard, by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. The Chicago Sunday Tribune, May 1, 1960, p. 1. A sensitive review, humanistic in scope, focusing on characters and scene instead of careful literary analysis.

Forster, E. M. Review of The Leopard, by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. The Spectator, May 13, 1960, p. 702. A review by one of the masters of twentieth century fiction. Forster considers the Archibal Colquohon translation of the novel, and, like other critics, finds the translation somewhat lacking.

Hollander, John. “Plain and Fancy: Notes on Four Novels.” The Yale Review 50, no. 1 (September, 1960): 149-156. Calls attention to The Leopard’s stature as a Bildungsroman, a poetic novel similar to the work of Jean Giraudoux, and a monument of European literature.

Pritchett, V. S. “A Sicilian Novel.” The New Statesman 59, no. 1522 (May 14, 1960): 721-722. High praise of Lampedusa’s lyricism; contrasts the obvious similarity with Stendhal, noting that Lampedusa’s style lacks the coldness of the French writer.

Slonim, Marc. Review of The Leopard, by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. The New York Times Book Review, May 1, 1960, 1, p. 24. Places The Leopard in its historical and literary context, and deals with some of the novel’s primary symbols.