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Mastro-don Gesualdo

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Wikipedia article

'Mastro-don Gesualdo' is an Italian novel written by Giovanni Verga, published in 1889. The first English edition, 'Master Don Gesualdo' (1893), was translated by Mary A. Craig and was published in London by J. P. Osgood, McIlvaine publishers. Giovanni Cecchetti, in his introduction to the 1979 edition, describes it as a masterpiece.

This work belongs to the 'Ciclo dei vinti', together with 'I Malavoglia', 'La Duchessa di Leyra', 'L'Onorevole Scipioni' and 'L'uomo di lusso', works which deal with the problem of social and economical advancement. 'La Duchessa de Leyra' remained only a draft, while the last two novels planned for the Ciclo, 'L'Onorevole Scipioni' and 'L'Uomo di Lusso', were not even started.

The novel is divided into four parts, each of which is made up of several chapters.

'Mastro-don Gesualdo' deals with Gesualdo Motta, a man who focuses his life on his economic assets instead of personal relationships, ending up crushed by the empty life he has created. Gesualdo lives in Vizzini (Sicily) during the Italian unification.

D. H. Lawrence wrote an introduction to 'Mastro-don Gesualdo', published in 'Phoenix II'.'Phoenix II: Uncollected, Unpublished, and Other Prose Works by D. H. Lawrence', New York: The Viking Press, Inc., 1970, pp. 279-288. Lawrence also wrote an essay on 'Mastro-don Gesualdo', published in 'Phoenix''Phoenix: The Posthumous Papers of D. H. Lawrence 1936', New York: The Viking Press, Inc., 1936, pp. 223-231. and in 'Selected Literary Criticism'.Lawrence, D. H., 'Selected Literary Criticism', New York: The Viking Press, Inc., 1956, pp. 270-279.


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