[ilds] peasants

Denise Tart & David Green dtart at bigpond.net.au
Thu Jan 1 14:24:44 PST 2009

Something that is emerging from the pages of Old Calabria is a very different treatment of the local peasants by Douglas compared to Durrell. Douglas describes melancholy villages, medieval superstition to the point of imbecility, incompetent local administration and people not only 'nasty, brutush and short', but also bereft of soul and spirit by the unending grind of daily existence - a far cry from the merry characters that Larry portrays - father Nicholas, Manoli the philosopher fisherman, the likeable rogue Frangos, to name but a few. Of course Larry lived closer to the peasants than Douglas, whose view seems far more patrician, and perhaps Greek island peasants are more contented souls, but is worth asking the question of whether Larry romanticises his peasants somewhat?

So far, from my readings of Old Calabria, I understand why so many Italian immigrants to Australia, and doubtless the USA also, came from this region - and Sicily!

16 William Street
Marrickville NSW  2204
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dtart at bigpond.net.au
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