Salvatore Di Giacomo


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(1860–1934). The major Neapolitan-dialect poet of the late 19th c. Abandoning medical studies to devote himself to journalism and literature, he first wrote short stories in the veristic manner (collected in 1893 in Pipa e boccale), but soon turned to poetry. His numerous collections of poems—Sunette antiche (1884), 'O fùnneco verde (1886), Mattinate napoletane (1886), A San Francisco (1895), Ariette e sunette (1898)—and the longer compositions 'O munasterio (1887) and Zi' munacella (1888), paint a picture of contemporary Naples, with some characters aspiring to improve their social position and others devising different stratagems for survival in increasingly squalid conditions. However, Di Giacomo does not aim so much at social criticism as at exploring in depth the character of the city and its inhabitants. This gives to his verse its intense musicality and lyricism. Equally lyrical are the plays O' voto (1899), O' mese mariano (1900), and Assunta Spina (1909). He had antiquarian interests which intensified on his appointment as librarian in the Naples national library in 1893, and led to Taverne famose napoletane (1899) and Napoli: figure e paesi (1909). He also wrote some of the most famous Neapolitan songs, such as ‘A Marechiare’, ‘Era de maggio’, and ‘Tiempe d'ammore’.

From The Oxford Companion to Italian Literature in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literature.

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