NAPLES AND NATIONAL LITERATURE

Among the men who cared about Italy we find Luigi Settembrini, a young man studying in the school of Basilio Puoti – founded in 1825 – as a language purist he tried to work about the Italian language, as he was convinced that having a common language could mean the construction of a common political and cultural identity.

On November 6th, 1863 he was appointed Senator. Between 1866 – 1872 three volumes of his work “Lessons about Italian Literature” were published.

After his task in writing about Italian literature, Settembrini was strongly engaged with the writing of his important work “Memories of my Life”, published after his death by Francesco De Sanctis. This work is divided in two parts: the first one reaching till 1848, and a second one collecting his notes during the years 1849-1859. His others works were published in a single volume, after his death: “Different writings about politics, literature and art”, and “The Epistolary”, respectively in 1879 and 1883, “Dialogues” and “Unpublished works” in 1909. Among some of his others works we remind “The praise of Marquis Basilio Puoti” in 1847.

Intellectuals in the “Kingdom of two Sicilies” were very influential in the national debate, and they pushed public opinion in order to overcome the image of a kingdom only characterized by natural amenities or of a paradise inhabited by devils.

Basilio Puoti was supported by Manzoni and the two men worked at the creation and distribution of the first grammars for the Italian language. Puoti reminds about two great critics: Leopoldo Rodinò and Francesco De Sanctis. In 1839 De Sanctis started giving his lessons in Vico Bisi, the actual Via Nilo, and thereafter in the Military School at Via S.Giovanni a Carbonara. In 1848 his liberal thoughts led him to be arrested and sentenced to three years in prison in the Castel dell’Ovo.

He entered the provisional Government of Garibaldi and during the post-unification period he was Minister of Public Education. He worked intensely and fought against the first injustice and corruption forms.

He died on December 29th, 1883 and his body was embalmed, but it was buried only nine years later in a Chapel in the Naples cemetery. In 1892 his grave was reconstructed with a marble bust and in the same year the Naples Municipality ordered the realization of a monument to commemorate his death. Only later many other gravestones and monuments were built all over Italy.

targa de sanctis

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