135. Luigi Capuana (1839-1915)

Author, journalist and one of the most important members of the Verist movement. He was a contemporary of Giovanni Verga, both having been born in the province of Catania within a year of each other. He was also one of the first authors influenced by the works of Émile Zola, French author and creator of Naturalism. Capuana also wrote poetry in Sicilian, plays (Garibaldi, Vanitas Vanitatum, Parodie, Semiritmi), stories (Studi sulla letteratura contemporanea, Per l’arte, Gli “ismi” contemporanei, Cronache letterarie, Il teatro italiano contemporaneo), novels (Giacinta, Marchese di Roccaverdina, La sfinge, Profumo, Rassegnazione) and various other theatrical works.

Born in Mineo (Catania) from a wealthy family, Capuana attended the local school and in 1851 he enrolled in the Royal College of Bronte. After only 2 years, he had to leave school due to bad health but he continued to study by teaching himself. After graduating, in 1857 Capuana studied Law in Catania but he did not complete his studies as he joined Garibaldi’s Risorgimento as Secretary of the Secret Committee of Insurrection in Mineo, and later as Chancellor of the new civic council.

In 1861 Capuana released his drama “Garibaldi” and in 1864 he settled in Florence to begin his “literary adventure” meeting with the most notable Italian authors of the era. In 1865 he published his first critical essays in the “Italian Review” and the following year he became the theatre critic for “Nation”. In 1868 Capuana returned to Sicily planning a brief stay, but his father’s death and economic hardship anchored him to the island. He worked as a school inspector and later as counselor of Mineo until he was elected as mayor of the town.

In 1902 Capuana moved to Catania to lecture lexicography and stylistics at the local university. His last literary works included “Coscienze” (1905), “Nel paese di Zàgara” (1910), and “Gli Americani di Rabbato” (1912). He died in Catania on November 29, 1915, shortly after Italy entered the First World War.

Read More:
1. Treccani, http://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/luigi-capuana_(Enciclopedia-Italiana)/
2. Wikipedia, https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luigi_Capuana

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