109. Mariannina Coffa Caruso (1841- 1878)

Poet born in Noto, Coffa Caruso was considered an early poetic talent and entrusted to Don Corrado Sbano who, in the limited cultural environment of the city passed to be an authority in the field of literature. Don Sbano advised her to read religious essays and watched that the themes of her poems shy away from those typical of the “authors exaggerated and intemperate”. He would later be accused of corrupting and suffocating the natural tendencies of the young artist.

Since a young child, her poetic improvisations were much appreciated in the “Academia Dei Trasformati” of Noto, which she joined since 1857 with the name of “Inspired” – she was also a member of the “Academia Dafnica” and the “Academia deli Zelanti” of Catania. Her first collection of poems were published in 1855. A second publication followed in 1859.

To complete her artistic education, her family sent her to take piano lessons with the young Ascenso Mauceri with whom she fell in love up to plan a wedding, with the initial approval of the family. However, her family changed mind and forced her to marry instead the wealthy landowner from Ragusa Giorgio Morana.

Coffa Caruso then began a life of annual pregnancies. Writing became challenging as her relatives considered the activity of writing objectionable, even instrument of moral depravity. Little consolation came from the correspondence with the ex-boyfriend -who reproached her for having accepted the marriage- to whom she described the misery of her existence

She kept up correspondences with various poets and writers such as Giuseppe Aurelio Costanzo, Giuseppe Macherione, Mario Rapisardi, Leonardo Vigo Calanna and, for the uterine fibroids she suffered from, homeopath doctor Giuseppe Magneto and his colleague Bonfanti. Left the house of her husband, she moved to Noto to follow the medical attention of Doctor Bonfanti and die few years later of neoginoplasia. In her last letters, Coffa expressed her exasperation against all the violent people in her life – parents, husband and relatives- who imposed on her their will, prevented the free expression of her personality, and ruined her life.

Read More
1. Wikipedia, https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mariannina_Coffa
2. Treccani, http://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/mariannina-coffa_(Dizionario_Biografico)/

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