Fictive Mediation and Mediated Fiction in the Novels of Giovanni Verga

Author: Tench, Darby
This is a fascinating study on the many ways that immediacy and mediation function in the novels of the nineteenth-century Italian novelist Giovanni Verga (1840-1922). Against the backdrop of an understanding of nineteenth-century realism, the author demonstrates how mediation and “the immediacy impression” function as rhetorical devices in Verga’s writings, and in I Malavoglia in particular. Girard, Bakhtin, and Serres provide important conversation partners for her throughout. The author has translated all of the Italian passages into English and has provided thorough annotation both in the form of endnotes and footnotes. This work makes important contributions to the study of Giovanni Verga and nineteenth-century realism.


“Indeed, one of the most positive features of this book is its sense of continuity, which transcends the somewhat scholastic distinctions between the “minor” and “major” works of one and the same author ... the best achievement of this book, in effect, could be that of showing the remarkable sophistication of Verga’s novels preceding the two widely-known novels of Sicilian life and customs (I Malavoglia and Mastro-don Gesualdo) ... The book is dominated by the concept of mediation and it is the most sophisticated critical overview I know of Verga’s work ... the author’s approach is significantly different and in line with certain contemporary critical methodologies ... ” – Paolo Valesio, Giuseppe Ungaretti Professor in Italian Literature; Chair, Department of Italian, Columbia University

“This engaging and erudite study validates an area of research that has received scant critical attention. Immediacy and mediation are both critical constructs and rhetorical strategies that the author deftly employs to illuminate Verga’s literary production ... Her refreshingly innovative analysis produces fruitful results while suggesting new avenues of research for nineteenth-century literary specialists ... What emerges from her compelling explication is that Verga’s use of free indirect discourse is a communicative strategy that constructs an unmediated experience for the reader ... the author’s sophisticated and elegant prose lays the ground work for a mature, provocative and rigorous reading, which will resonate with students of nineteenth-century studies. This work is an important and stimulating contribution to Verga scholarship in particular and to an understanding of realist poetics in general.” – Piero Garofalo, Professor of Italian, University of New Hampshire

Table of Contents

Foreword by Tullio Pagano
Pre-Preface by Paolo Valesio
1. Immediacy, Sincerity and the Art of Persuasion
2. Modes of Narration in Verga’s Early Novels
3. Mediation, Power and Desire: The Role of the Third in I Malavoglia
4. Art, Authenticity and the Middle Term