Luigi Capuana (May 28, 1839 – November 29, 1915) was an Italian author and 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, of which an example appears below.
He was the author of 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.
'What follows is the beginning of a translation from the Italian Wikipedia page (which will be updated):
Origins and schooling
Luigi Capuana was born at Mineo, in the Province of Catania. His family was wealthy, and owned property in the area. He attended the local school.
In 1851 he enrolled in the Royal College of Bronte, Catania, but left after only 2 years because of bad health. However, he continued to study by teaching himself.
After graduating he enrolled in the Faculty of Law at Catania in 1857. He abandoned this in 1860 in order to take part in Garibaldi's Risorgimento as the secretary of the Secret Committee of Insurrection in Mineo, and later as the chancellor of the nascent civic council.
In 1861 Capuana released the legendary drama Garibaldi in three cantos, published in Catania by Galatola. In 1864 he settled in Florence to begin his "literary adventure": he met, and kept in touch with, the most notable Italian authors of the era (including Aleardo Aleardi); he published his first critical essays in the "Italian Review" in 1865; he became the theatre critic for "Nation" in 1866; he published, serially in a Florentine daily in 1867, his first novella, entitled Dr. Cymbalus which took Dumas fils' La boîte d'argent as a model. He would stay in Florence until 1868.
Return to Sicily
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.
During these years he learned more about Hegel's idealist philosophy. He was especially inspired by "Dopo la Laurea", an essay by positivist and Hegelian doctor Angelo Camillo De Meis, who had developed a theory on the evolution and death of literary genres.
Catania: work at university and death
His last literary works included "Coscienze" (1905), "Nel paese di Zàgara" (1910), and "Gli Americani di Rabbato" (1912).
Example of his poetry in Sicilian
Sta notti... (Tonight)
|Sta notti mi sunnai quattru funtani,||Tonight I dreamt of four fountains|
|Quattru pedi d'aranciu a lu ciuriri;||Of four orange trees about to blossom;|
|Vitti li stiddi scinniri e acchianari,||I saw the stars descend and ascend;|
|Vitti lu suli comu un lebbru jiri;||I saw the sun run like a hare;|
|Vitti n'aquila fina a lu vulari,||I saw a fine eagle ready to soar,|
|Vitti lu cori tò npettu viniri;||I saw your heart come into my breast;|
|Ca siddu mi putieva arrisbigghiari,||And could I have awakened,|
|Nun ti l'avissi cchiù lassatu jiri.||I would never have let you go.|
- Works by Luigi Capuana at Project Gutenberg
- Capuana's works: text with concordances and frequency list
- Text Frequencies of "Profumo"
- Answers.com article on Luigi Capuana
- Arba Sicula, Vol.2, 1980 (source of both the poem in Sicilian and the English translation).