77. Isidoro La Lumia (1823 – 1879)

Born in Palermo, La Lumia studied in Palermo under scientist and writer D. Scinà, his first teacher, -whom he would later call in an epigraph “supreme among Sicilian minds of his time”. The publication of his first work,Maria o Palermo nel 1647″, written in imitation of Alessandro Manzoni, was forbidden by the censors. Other works such as “Bianca de’ Rossi” and “Evellina”, were published in local newspapers (The Fairy gallant respectively, in 1839 and The Eye, 1839-40).

In 1840 he founded La Concordia with L. Giacinto Carini and the collaboration of other writers and intellectuals. Literary scene of heated controversies concerning policies of the time -and often blocked by censorship- the magazine remained alive for just under two years. In 1848, when Palermo revolted against the Bourbons, La Lumia got involved in the realization of the new government of Sicily.

First engaged in the Secretariat of the Committee for Information chaired by Ruggiero Settimo, and later the Secretariat of the Foreign Ministry, he was also the editor, with FP Bonaccorsi and G. Piaggia, the Giornale Ufficiale newspaper, published from 1 May 1848 al 24 April 1849. On behalf of the Committee, he wrote, together with Bonaccorsi – who later replaced his name with the alias of Pantaleoni -, a historique Mémoire sur les droits politiques de la Sicile (Paris 1849).

After the failure of the revolution, La Lumia, who refused to be part of a delegation of the City of Palermo in charge of doing an act of submission to the Bourbons (biographers attribute to the phrase: “I have given up with contempt. Others, not me , bury the Fatherland “), he refused even the direction of the official newspaper of Sicily offered to him by the restored Bourbon government. The Law degree, achieved in 1845, allowed him to provide for his mother and his two brothers. While working on a parallel job as an archivist for the family of the Dukes of Monteleone, he produced in 1858, covered by anonymity, the ‘surveying Index of parchments and certificates that exist in the Most Excellent Duke of Terranova and Monteleone in Palermo. Meanwhile, he also collaborated to the periodicals “La Lira” and “La Favilla” (Palermo), but also to the  weekly Revue Franco-Italian (then Courrier Franco-Italian, based in Paris) of G. Caring. However, his main task became the historical research which had already experimented by publishing in Palermo, in 1844, the “historical essay” The Moon and Perollo, set in sixteenth century Sicilian. Fragment of historical studies on the fourteenth century in Sicily, his first large-scale manuscript, rebuilt the clash between the feudal Latin and Catalan during the anarchy that followed the death of Frederick III of Aragon.

In 1860 La Lumia was involved again in the events that marked the end of the Bourbon regime. At the entry of Garibaldi in Palermo, he joined with his brother Francesco, the committee of insurgents and became the director of the fGiornale Ufficiale di Sicilia (whose first issue was published on June 7). He also covered the role of Secretary of the extraordinary Council of State, established on October 19th, 1860, to study the shape and condition of the annexation of Sicily to the Italian State. The opinion which was drawn up, and which after the plebiscite was not held any account, it would keep a separate administration of Sicily as part of the political unity of the peninsula.

Disappointed as other patriots and politicians -not just Sicilians- from the unification mode, La Lumina left his collaboration to newspapers The Annexation of Palermo and The Opinion of Turin. He devote himself to historical research and , Director, he focused his efforts to the development of the State Archive of Palermo (1864). In 1874 he became Superintendent to the Archives of Sicily -charge he would hold until his death. From the point of view of historical production, the decade 1860-70 was the most fruitful. Recurring motif in his  papers is the critic of the ruling class in Sicily, happy in maintaining the historic “privileges” of the Kingdom,

Su suggerimento dell’economista F. Ferrara, il L. fu invitato a collaborare alla fiorentina Nuova Antologia di scienze, lettere ed arti . At the suggestion of the economist F. Ferrara, L. was invited to collaborate in the Florentine New Anthology of science, literature and arts. Vi pubblicò lo studio Gli ebrei siciliani (vol. IV, marzo 1867, pp. 405-436; poi Palermo 1870), in cui esponeva la tesi, innovativa per i tempi, dell’estraneità della Sicilia alla persecuzione dell’etnia ebraica, voluta da una potenza lontana e straniera. He published the study The Jews in Sicily (Vol. IV, March 1867, pp. 405-436; and Palermo 1870), in which it explained the idea, innovative for its time, of foreignness of Sicily to the persecution of the Jewish, wanted from a distant and foreign power.

The decade ended with the collection of studies Studies of Sicilian history (Palermo 1870). Working as a historian and archivist did not exhaust his commitments. He was always present in the city’s public life and expected to perform tasks even at national level. Since the Unification until the time of death, he was almost continuously councilor in the town of Palermo, often councilor and member of several municipal committees. Since 1863 La Lumia was also a member of the Board of Antiquities and Fine Arts for Sicily.

Read More: Treccani, http://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/isidoro-la-lumia_(Dizionario_Biografico)/


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