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Verga Pop

Traces of Verga in visual and performing arts, in literature, and in popular culture

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Published on Wednesday, July 06, 2022


We propose an unusual and unprecedented approach within the domain of Verga studies, pursuing the presence of the author in contemporary society through non-canonical lines of research. Some possible areas of investigation could be: Verga in songs, in contemporary melodramas, in dance, in non canonical theatrical forms, in audiobooks and hyperbooks, in comics, in the Italian territory, in the social sector; Verga and the fantastic, parodies on Verga.


Ninna nanna, ninna nò, sta arrivando Mazzarò

Resta sveglio che sennò, porta via quello che può

Ninna nanna, ninna nò, sta arrivando Mazzarò

Resta sveglio che sennò, porta via quello che può

Caparezza, Ninna nanna di Mazzarò, in Habemus Capa, 2006


More than ten years ago, Felice Rappazzo wondered in a contribution on Annali della Fondazione Verga (3, 2010) what could be the usefulness of critically analyzing those works by Verga which had already received so much attention by scholars. On Verga’s centenary, we would like to broaden this question of crucial relevance by focusing on works that organically engage the original corpus and the figure of an author who is already widely canonized as the father of Verismo. The objective is thus to concentrate on a new ‘object’ in order to put forward new forms of investigation that bring significant elements of innovation to the long-established lines of research.

Caparezza’s song in the exergue re-elaborates Verga’s character, portraying him as the image of an unbridled capitalism. This song can be included in a line of productive research that intends to trace the representations, the rewritings and the transformations of Verga as writer and character, as well as of his works and the related topics, within the domain of popular literature and culture and the collective imaginary. Although Verga’s presence in cultural forms of mass distribution is certainly not comparable to the remaking of other ‘great’ authors of the Italian literature, at the end of the Nineteenth century, alongside his narrative works, his productivity was greatly appreciated in extra-literary fields, such as cinema and theatre; the author himself rewrites his works in other genres and with other expressive codes. It is therefore our intention to fully outline the multimedia and popular image of Verga in current culture, in an attempt to retrieve the complexity of Verga’s intellectual personality, which ab origine crosses and innovates different genres, showing also its productivity in contemporary society.

Music is certainly a fecund ground: as regards songs, in addition to Caparezza’s song, it is possible to cite, for example, a more contemporary rap by Anastasio, Rosso Malpelo (2015), or, a more classic I Malavoglia (1983) by Fredy Garozzo. La Lupa. Suspiri d’amuri (2008) by Salvatore Guglielmino, which is narratively a sequel to Verga’s novel, shifts the focus to the murderous lover and was turned into a musical in 2014. The year before, Mena, an opera in three acts, with libretto by Plinio Maggi and Carlo Majorana, had displaced the action of I Malavoglia, by which it was inspired, concentrating on the relationship between Alfio e Mena. The modern melodrama, La Capinera (2018), with libretto by Giuseppe Fulcheri, music by Gianni Bella, and lyrics by Mogol, takes Verga’s novel in another direction, integrating pop sounds and classical lyric.

Furthermore, even if the relationships between Verga and the field of dance are not continuous, the remarkable popularity of La Lupa (1998), choreographed by Susanna Beltrami and interpreted by Luciana Savignano, should be noted. Likewise, the following year, there was a composite show with the same title, directed by Turi Giordano and with choreography by Salvo di Mauro, which integrated acting, music, and dance, and which staged Verga himself as a character.

The revived ghost of the writer, played by Salvo Randone, was also ‘evoked’ on the radio in a 1970s program “Le Interviste Impossibili”. The ‘Verga on the radio’, between reductions and adaptations, is still to be explored, from I Malavoglia read by Vincenzo Pirrotta for “Alta Voce” in 2004 to Le novelle di Verga recited by Gaetano Marino for “QuartaRadio.it”, to the very recent scripted readings created for Project Verga and Others, as well as the vast domain of audiobooks and hyperbooks.

The critical literature on Verga’s theatre is impressive, but we believe that there is still room for investigation on specific and particular initiatives, such as ‘il teatro di reviviscenza’ by Alfredo Mazzone, playwright and director from Vizzini, who since 1972, proposes Le Verghiane. This is a revolutionary idea of theatrical performance: it is an immersive show where the traditional representation is located in the living context of the village of Vizzini with the inhabitants that support the professional actors. The cinema inspired by Verga is equally investigated, while less analyzed are more recent productions, like the works by Pasquale Scimeca, Rosso Malpelo (2007) and I Malavoglia (2011); the former was enriched by a social dimension, the Rosso Malpelo Project or “Let’s free the children of the world from the slavery of work”.

Other areas of investigation may be: comics – we could mention Rosso Malpelo (2017) by Maurizio Palarchi and Roberto Melis, recently reprinted, and Giovanni Verga. Cinque novella a fumetti (2018) by Fabia Mustica; parodies – at the cinema, an episode of Io ti uccido, tu uccidi (1965) by Gianni Puccini, with Franco Franchi e Ciccio Ingrassia, that ironically reinterprets the Cavalleria rusticana, and in the literary context Malaria e zombie (2017) by Luigi Bonaro who revisits the novella Malaria (1883) within the genre of horror, or I grandi classici riveduti e scorretti (2018) which includes a comic reworking of I Malavoglia; the fantastic and the uncanny, certainly not limited to the three works that are most investigated by critics, i.e. Storie del castello di Trezza, La festa dei morti, La coda del diavolo.

Last but not least, worthy of attention are the following lines of investigation: Verga on social media – the author is comically presented, thanks to the inventiveness of Francesco Dominelli and Alessandro Locatelli, on the Facebook page “Se i social network fossero sempre esistiti”, where Verga is portrayed as a rough character who is obsessed with sex; on this line, on a biographical level, the amorous and erotic side of the author’s prose, which was described by Alberto Savinio as “stinking of sex”, could be taken into account; and the influences of Verga in everyday life, from toponymy – Verga is mentioned in 36 Italian streets and squares – to gastronomy: for instance, the restaurants that are named or are architecturally designed after the writer, such as the restaurant ‘Il Campanile’ in Vizzini, or even the ‘Rosso Malpelo’ cocktail.

Therefore, our intention is to propose an unusual and unprecedented approach within the domain of Verga studies, pursuing the presence of the author in contemporary society through non-canonical lines of research.

Some possible areas of investigation could be:

  • Verga in songs
  • Verga and contemporary melodrama or the musical
  • Verga and dance
  • Non-canonical theatrical forms inspired by Verga’s corpus
  • Verga on air
  • Verga in audiobooks and hyperbooks
  • Verga and comics
  • Parodies on Verga
  • Verga and the fantastic
  • Verga ‘social’ and Verga in the social sector
  • Presence of Verga in the Italian territory

Submission guidelines

Please send an abstract (in Italian and English) of 500 words maximum accompanied by a short bio-bibliography of the author (150 words maximum) to vergapop22@gmail.com

The submission date of the complete essays, together with the editorial norms, for publication in Filoloski pregled, a “classe A” journal, will be communicated at the end of the conference.

  • Abstract submission date (max 500 words): 30/07/2022

  • Notification of acceptance: immediate
  • International Conference (online and in-person): 25/11/2022


  • Milagro Martín Clavijo (Universidad de Salamanca),
  • Daniela Bombara (independent scholar),
  • Ellen Patat (Università degli Studi di Milano) 

mclavijo@usal.es; daniela.bombara63@gmail.com; ellenpatat@gmail.com.


  • Facultad de Filosofía, Plaza de Anaya s/n
    Salamanca, Kingdom of Spain (37008)

Event format

Hybrid event (on site and online)


  • Saturday, July 30, 2022


  • Giovanni Verga, rewriting, popular culture


  • Daniela Bombara
    courriel : vergapop22 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Milagro Martín Clavijo
    courriel : vergapop22 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Ellen Patat
    courriel : vergapop22 [at] gmail [dot] com

Information source

  • Daniela Bombara
    courriel : vergapop22 [at] gmail [dot] com


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Verga Pop », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, July 06, 2022, https://calenda.org/1006702

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