chapter  3
29 Pages

Metaphors of History: I vecchi e i giovani

WithCatherine O'Rawe

Pirandello's historical novel I vecchi e i giovani, 'romanzo della Sicilia dopo il 1870, amatissimo e popoloso romanzo, ov'e racchiuso il dramma della mia generazione', was first published in 1909, a year after 'L'umorismo'. More recently, the novel was re-evaluated by Vittorio Spinazzola in his influential 1990 monograph, Il romanzo antistorico, in which he asserted the centrality of the novel to Pirandello's narrative production. I vecchi e i giovani deals with the post-Risorgimento generation, Pirandello's own, in the years 1893—4, moving between events in Sicily and the financial scandals in Rome which brought down the government of Francesco Crispi. Nineteenth-century narrative production in Italy was dominated by the historical novel, at least until the post-Risorgimento period: the polemic which had surrounded its rise gave way to its triumphant acquisition of the status of 'ufficialita', and its civic function as 'portatore privilegiato dell'ideologia nazionale'.