TitleDenouncement, engagement and dialect
NameHolt, Jennifer (author), Marsh, David (chair), Leake, Elizabeth (internal member), Baldi, Andrea (internal member), Pell, Gregory (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
Detective and mystery stories, Italian--History and criticism,
Sciascia, Leonardo--Criticism and interpretation,
Camilleri, Andrea--Criticism and interpretation
DescriptionThe genre of the mystery novel offers an ideal medium to analyze social injustice. The guise of criminal investigations allows for an examination of deviant behavior across diverse social strata and its causes and effects upon modern society. In theory, institutional justice in Italy extends equal rights and treatment to all citizens, irrespective of social standing or political affiliation. However, an analysis of criminal activity and the manner in which it is investigated and prosecuted reveals that this principle does not always hold true. These crimes--each a labyrinth of social and political connections, the daunting task of exposing those responsible and bringing them to justice within the framework of the legal system--constitute the plot of the Sicilian mystery novel.
Despite the valiant and occasionally successful efforts of an investigator to solve these crimes, it is impossible to prosecute the guilty parties within the framework of the legal system. This break of the Sicilian mystery novel with the tradition of the genre prompted Italo Calvino to comment on "…the impossibility of the mystery novel within a Sicilian context" (Calvino, Foreword. To Each his Own). These mystery novels raise the question: What are the social phenomena unique to a Sicilian context that prevent institutionalized justice from being administered and what are the historical reasons responsible for such phenomena?
When read as reflections of modern Sicilian society and the complex social problems that beleaguer it, the mystery novels of Leonardo Sciascia and Andrea Camilleri act as powerful tools of social denouncement. Through these novels their authors denounce the obscure web of connections and corruption that plagues not only Sicily but the Italian mainland as well. These mysteries reflect a society that is increasingly socially engaged, and they hint at the evolution of a collective moral consciousness in Sicily since Sciascia first published The Day of the Owl in 1961.
This dissertation examines the innovative stylistic and thematic elements that make Sciascia and Camilleri’s literary contributions unique while reflecting the socially unjust cultural reality in which they were raised.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references (p. 156-160)
Noteby Jennifer Holt
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.