This site uses cookies to provide a better experience. Continuing navigation accept the use of cookies by us OK

Children in the workforce. Giovanni Verga’s denunciation in “Rosso Malpelo”



Children in the workforce. Giovanni Verga’s denunciation in “Rosso Malpelo”

logo settimana della lingua nuovoLecture by Dr Annamaria Pagliaro (Monash University, Melbourne)

2022 Week of the Italian Language in the World

The Week of the Italian Language in the World reaches its 22nd edition this year. The global event strongly supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, presents multiple events organized by the network of Italian Cultural Institutes spread over the five continents, in collaboration with all the actors of the Sistema Paese and is characterized by a theme that changes every year.

The theme for 2022 is L’italiano e i giovani. Come scusa? Non ti followo, a linguistic hybrid which expresses the wish to explore the ways in which languages and communication tools are evolving through the new generations.

In 2022, on the other hand, we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the death of the great Sicilian author Giovanni Verga. Therosso malpelo Institute has thus decided to bring the Verga commemoration together with the theme of the Week of the Italian Language and is pleased to present, among the various events organized by the Institute, a lecture by Dr Annamaria Pagliaro of Monash University in Melbourne entitled Children in the workforce. Giovanni Verga’s denunciation in Rosso Malpelo.

“He had red hair because he was a mean and bad boy who promised to turn into a first-rate scoundrel.”. This presentation explores Giovanni Verga’s representation of the Italian South by focusing on one of his most successful short stories from his collection Vita dei campi (1880), Rosso Malpelo. A major 19th century Italian naturalist writer, Verga brings to Italian literature extremely modern narrative strategies, a revolutionary use of language and compelling controversial themes, such as in this particular case, the exploitation of children in sulphur mines in Sicily. Through the psychological portrait of a young child, the author explores a particularly Darwinian vision of the struggles for survival and the mechanism of social organisation in a very impoverished rural setting. Taking into account some key issues pertaining to the critical reception of Verga’s work, it will consider the extent to which Verga’s short story can be considered a denunciation from the South to the newly united Italian Kingdom of the inadequate social conditions affecting Sicily.

annamaria pagliaroAnnamaria Pagliaro is Senior Lecturer in Italian Studies at Monash University. She was Academic Director of the Monash University Center of Prato from 2005 to 2008 as well as a member of the first working group for the establishment of the Center itself. A collaboration that continues as a member of the Advisory Group. She also coordinates and teaches the Italian Studies Course in Prato in the months of January and February. Before joining Monash University in 1991, she taught at La Trobe University and the University of Melbourne. She completed a Master of Arts and a PhD from the University of Melbourne. Her research and supervision interests spans from Italian literature of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to literary theory, gender studies and Italian theater. She has published extensively on the development of the 19th century novel, from Italian Verismo to Modernism. She is a member of the editorial board of the Melbourne-based magazine Spunti e Ricerche and has edited several volumes for the magazine Annali della Fondazione Verga.

Giovanni Verga (Catania, 02/09/1840 - Catania, 27/01/1922) was an Italian writer, playwright and senator, considered the greatest exponent of the literary current of Verismo. Of noble birth, he lived in an environment of liberal traditions. He initially devoted himself to writing adventurous novels on the influence of the works of Dumas (father) and later to others of passionate subject including History of a Blackcap which met with some success. He moved to Florence in 1869 and 3 years later to Milan where he frequented literary circles meeting Arrigo Boito and Giuseppe Giacosa. With the novella Nedda his conversion to Verismo took place and led him to write in 1881 his most complete work I Malavoglia which together with Mastro don Gesualdo of 1889 constitute two of the most remarkable novels of Italian literature. Verga's new veristic conception placed the hinge of the literary work on the "disappearance" ofmacquarie logo the author, making sure that in the narration the facts develop by themselves, as if by spontaneous necessity. Verga's language is rough and bare as a reflection of the world it represents, made up of both poor people like in I Malavoglia, and wealthy people like Mastro don Gesualdo, all of whom are "vanquished" in the daily struggle of life. The writer also dealt with the theater, writing some of his short stories, the most famous of which is Cavalleria rusticana, which was later set to music by Pietro Mascagni. Verga became Senator of the Kingdom of Italy in 1920 upon the appointment of King Vittorio Emanuele III.

Free entry. Limited seats.

Booking essential:

ZOOM link:


Date: Thursday, October 20, 2022

Time: At 3:30 pm

Organized by : Macquarie University

In collaboration with : Istituto Italiano di Cultura

Entrance : Free


Macquarie University, Room C120-121, 25 Wally's Wa