IGNAZIO SILONE E CARLO LEVI: IL MONDO È ANCORA PAESE
De Palma, Dario
The renowned antifascist intellectuals Ignazio Silone and Carlo Levi are too often relegated to epoch of fascism and to the Southern Question, which are the classic themes of their famous novels Fontamara and Christ Stopped at Eboli. This does not reflect their rich intellectual history and may have them seem irrelevant in today’s world. Without neglecting the historical context of their respective works, I propose a global reinterpretation surpassing these classic themes while capturing their influence on the authors’ thought. Reaching well beyond the village and the “contadini-cafoni” of their immediate literary context, the cornerstone of Silone and Levi’s thought is the human being and the quest for the justice and freedom of all peoples from any form of oppression. My reading of Fontamara and Christ Stopped at Eboli aims to show that the welfare and freedom of the “contadini-cafoni” allude to the need for a reorganization of their Nation-state. Likewise, Silone and Levi’s selected political pieces reveal their Europeanist federalist views which merge in the fight for the creation of the United States of Europe, believed to be the only force able to guarantee justice and freedom for all. Drawing a line of continuity between the problems of their world and the main issues of our time, my thesis demonstrates how central Silone and Levi are when we are confronting timely issues such as: migration, the meeting-clashing of different cultures, ideological fundamentalisms and Euroscepticism. Silone and Levi’s work at the intersection of literature and politics in Fontamara and Christ Stopped at Eboli offer one of their greatest lessons, as the dissemination of these literary works consequently promoted their political message for the justice and freedom of all peoples to a larger audience. As in Silone and Levi’s experience, politics alone remains unable to successfully confront the main issues of our time and it is due that we again turn to literature for help.
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