Riccardo Bacchelli Raffaello Piccoli - Essay

Raffaello Piccoli

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The Diavolo al Pontelungo [The Devil at the Long Bridge] is a long novel, the scene of which is laid partly in Switzerland and partly in Italy, around the figure of the aged Bakunin and the first internationalistic movements after the realization of Italian unity; and it is in manipulating such unexpected and uninviting materials that Bacchelli succeeds at last in reaping the harvest of a long and patient literary apprenticeship…. The atmosphere of those grey, uncertain times, of that dawn of the long peace which was to be concluded in the Dämmerung of the great war, is caught with an alert and sensitive intelligence, and with an art capable of individualizing all its multiple and confused elements in a crowd of sharply defined personalities and characters. The deterioration of the ideal in the daily uses of life is studied and represented against the idyllic background of Swiss landscape—a setting which constitutes a kind of continuous lyrical accompaniment to a story in itself sad and prosaic. But the whole first part of the novel is but a prologue to the second, in which Bakunin's voyage to Italy and the preparation and failure of the Bologna insurrection of 1873 are told. Being himself a Bolognese, Bacchelli is now truly at home and the characters which are already so clean cut in the first part acquire here a deeper relief, as if he had worked at them with love not only for his art, but with love for his native place, both intimate and...

(The entire section is 413 words.)