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Leonardo Sciascia in the pages of di guardia! Quindicinale delta Federazione dei Fasci di Combattimento di Caltanissetta.

In Un mare di ritagli, Ivan Pupo brings to light numerous "rari e dispersi" writings of Leonardo Sciascia. (1) For example, he attributes to Sciascia 11 editorial commentaries published in 1940-1941 in di guar dial, the bi-weekly publication of the Fasci di Combattimento di Caltanissetta, Sciascia's home province. With the exception of two, "A chi tocca..." (L.S., 1941a), (2) which utilizes the experience Sciascia gained as a clerk at the local granary (as we shall see), (3) all deal with foreign policy. (4) Three articles are signed L. Sciascia or Leonardo Sciascia. (5) Authorship of the others is indicated by the initials "L.S." in all instances except "Cristallizzazione," where his initials are lowercase. (6)

In what follows, I place these writings within the context of Sciascia's biography, and the tumultuous geopolitics of a world moving toward war, and will juxtapose them with statements made in hindsight as Sciascia painstakingly honed, over the course of his career as a writer and public intellectual, his public self-image.

If we read all of them together (something only a very small portion of his vast readership is inclined to do), Sciascia's myriad public recollections of his childhood and youth, what I am calling his 'public self-image' (the sum of these interventions), combine to form an autobiography. And in that autobiography, as is the case with all memoirs, we find that "the narrator, author and major character are all conflated" (Funt, 1987: 99). What matters more, particularly for present purposes, is that the "author mediates and controls all elements of the narrative" (Funt, 1987: 99). Writing an autobiography is always to some extent "an act of self-creation" (Berryman, 1999: 76-77, 120), in this case control is greatly facilitated by disarticulation of the autobiography over a very broad array of venues.

While novels are creative, biographies tend to align more with historiography and are the product of research. This is not to merely state the obvious, because autobiographies must be read with the benefit of a "textual contract": "reading the signature that is common to author, narrator, and protagonist, knowing that it implies a specific mode of reading: autobiography, not fiction" (Blowers, 2000: 115). Nonetheless, this "distinctive mode of reading" is conditioned--as Ryan, following Lejeune, contends--by "the authenticity of reference which the proper name assures (Ryan, 1980: 6). Referential authenticity--the fact that the autobiographer was eyewitness to the events reported--distinguishes autobiography from fiction, biography, and historiography. It is testimony, with all that word implies: it is both first-hand and subjective. (7)

Autobiography is the expression of a retrospective view of the writing self. Unlike fictional narratives, but like biography and historiography, autobiographies are conditioned by the internal tension between their historicity and their narrativity. Sciascia's case is more complicated than most because of his adept (re)iterations in journalistic fora (venues where the reader expects the quest for fact and objectivity to prevail over creativity) of autobiographical material. This information resonates in his fictional writings (especially his debut works). Even a seasoned critical reader may fail to see how the dexterous use of "illusory truth" (8) allows repeated versions of the same story to corroborate each other tautologically. Furthermore, autobiographies are in many, if not most, cases discrete volumes (which brings Blower's "textual contract" into play). But, as already noted, Sciascia's autobiography is uncommonly scattered over a plethora of interviews, some book-length, others in weeklies or dailies (some of which were part of the marketing strategies for his new releases, a situation that afforded him the opportunity to guide and condition the reading, as would any 'strong' author, of all his texts, including his Opere, which he helped edit (9)), in addition to Collura's friendly biography. These autobiographical references resonate and find tautological verification in his fiction and opinion pieces.

To further complicate matters, Sciascia was not only a master rhetorician; he was particularly adroit at adapting his remarks to contingency and to the readership of a specific venue. Moreover, because of the broad dispersion of his autobiographical statements, it is easy for readers to overlook instances where memories preserved in disparate venues do not dovetail with each other. And because Sciascia is a compelling pamphleteer, readers are very often willing to grant his demand that he be afforded the "diritto di contraddirsi" (Sciascia, 1982: 177) from one intervention to another. Thus, the question becomes whether the work of the philologist includes bringing to light and examining the self-contradictions of a public intellectual, or taking Sciascia at his word. I believe that of the two options we must choose the former, lest we pick and choose those statements that support our thesis and ignore others, with each of us creating our own Sciascia, made to fit to a preconceived notion.

Pupo (2011: 13) writes of the "honest dissimulation" motivating the writings currently under examination. Whether or not, and the extent to which, the "dissimulation" Pupo casts into relief was "honest" is neither possible to determine nor for us to decide. In any case, when Sciascia wrote the articles in question, in 1940-1941, he was 19 years old. His family was relatively well-off (Vilardo, 2012: 29-30, 49), and he benefitted from the fact that several of his uncles held important offices in the Fascist hierarchy in his home town of Racalmuto. Indeed, one uncle, "presidente dell'Opera Nazionale Balilla di Racalmuto," was responsible for him receiving special considerations and awards as a boy (Sciascia, 1954: 203). This same uncle, in his capacity as "amministratore del teatro di Racalmuto" (Collura, 1996: 58), allowed the young Sciascia unlimited free entrance to the local cinema. In addition, Sciascia's family, in his own words, "[m]i risparmiava tante cose. Persino il premilitare mi poi risparmiato" (Sciascia, 1954: 204). (10)

Nonetheless, and as the mature Sciascia stated in numerous venues, Fascism offended--as Calvino famously put it, when speaking of his own rejection of the Regime--Sciascia's "sense of humour" (Calvino, 2003 [1991]: 1198). (11) In 1973, Sciascia recalled harboring, even as a boy:
una personale, viscerale, quasi innata awersione a un sistema che mi
costringeva a fare quel che non mi piaceva: l'indossare una divisa,
l'andare alle adunate, il fare ginnastica, il cantare in coro, il far
temi sulle opere del regime (non se ne vedeva una sola, nei paesi
dove stavo), e insomma il fare parte di un gregge, l'obbedire ai
comandi... Il fascismo era per me una condizione in cui si e obbligati
a fare quel che non piace. Non a non fare, che I'avrei sopportato,
ma a fare... (Santini, 1973: 42)


Sciascia has claimed also that he was influenced by several "amicizie pericolose" (Santini, 1973: 42): school chums Gino Cortese (1921-1989) (12) and the Macaluso brothers, Emanuele (13) and Massimiliano, (14) in addition to Pompeo Colajanni (a member of the Pci since the 1920s who distinguished himself as a partisan combatant in the Piedmontese Garibaldi brigades). (15) Vilardo (2012: 77) adds to this list of "amicizie pericolose" another partisan hero, "Calogero Boccadutri, minatore, alla testa del Partito Comunista clandestino." (16)

All these friends at various points in time joined the clandestine Pci, fought in the Resistance, and went on to hold important offices in the Party and in the Leftist labor union, the Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro. Over the course of his career, Sciascia would claim that it was these friendships, along with Italy's participation in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), that turned him against the Regime (Sciascia, 1982: 68). He also claimed that when the Allies landed in Sicily in 1943, he was a Communist sympathizer (Sciascia, 1981). Moreover, Sciascia has recalled how he found himself "dall'altra parte" (Sciascia, 1954: 210) with the help of Cortese, that is, among those who rejected Fascist rhetoric. Macaluso concurs: "[l]'altra parte in cui Cortese introdusse Sciascia era l'organizzazione clandestina del Pci, alla quale," he stresses, "comunque non si voile iscrivere mai" (Macaluso, 2010: 16).

However, the recollections of Sciascia's lifelong friend from elementary school, the poet Stefano Vilardo, (17) do not perfectly coincide. The latter writes, "[f]u dopo, molto dopo il '37," that he and Sciascia made the acquaintance of Cortese (and of the Macaluso brothers): "[p]iu tardi, negli anni Quaranta." His recalls specifically that "[l]'incontro con Gino Cortese avvenne al chiosco di Giannone, dove si vendevano, oltre a invitanti, dissetanti bibite [...], anche riviste e giornali. Noi andavamo a comprarvi <<L'Osservatore Romano>>, l'unico giornale che non dava le notizie adulterate dal fanatismo imperante" (Vilardo, 2012: 77, 79, 93). (18)

It would seem that the combination of Vilardo's memory and Sciascia's contributions to di guardia! call into question one of the main pilasters of Sciascia's self-image: the importance of the Spanish Civil War in his intellectual and political formation; indeed, the event that catalyzed his "catharsis," to use Gramsci's term (Gramsci, 1975: 1244).

In any case, when Sciascia's inchoate distaste for the Regime did begin to take more solid form, his family began to consider him "una specie di pecora nera [...] un sovversivo" (Sciascia, 1982: 68). Nonetheless, he continued to participate in the activities of the local Gruppo universitario fascista "fino alla fine, ad approfittare di conferenze e convegni per dire che pensavamo." Perhaps, he speculated a decade later, this is why "tanta gente ci avra guardato con sospetto" (Sciascia, 1954:211).

Sciascia has claimed he stayed also on for "il gusto della beffa:" "C[ortese] era capace di citare in convegno un discorso di Dimitrov dicendo che era di Bottai, far dire a Mussolini cose che aveva detto Stalin e a Starace frasi dell'ultimo discorso di Roosevelt. Andava bene." In fact, Cortese's trickery went so well that "[noi] ci beccavamo dei premi" (Sciascia, 1987 [2004]: 44).

But unlike Cortese, a young man of "estrazione borghese" who left Sicily to study philosophy at the University of Parma and served as a cavalry officer in that province before deserting and becoming a partisan commander with the battle name of Ilio (Macaluso, 2010: 16; Mastropaolo, 2017: 156; see also Collura, 1996: 105-106), Sciascia--in the early 1940s, more or less the time of his collaboration with di guardia!--was declared physically unfit for military service (see Sciascia, 1992: 32-33). And, since he "avev[a] degli amici al [suo] paese" (Sciascia, 1987 [2004]: 47; emphasis in original), in 1941 he found work with the local government granary, where he interacted with the area's agricultural workers (Sciascia, 1982: 133-134). He remained at that post until 1948. During that same time, soon after the end of hostilities in Sicily--in 1944--he married and started a family (Ambroise, 1987a: LII).

As concerns a "dissenso in aenigmate" (Pupo, 2011: 18), (19) and especially Sciascia's "gusto della beffa," at the time of Sciascia's collaboration with di guardia!, I contend that the texts published in di guardia! were all perfectly in line with typical Fascist war propaganda. Their content reflects a firm belief in Italy's foreign policy and its ability to win any war. If there is a burla hidden therein, it is concealed far behind an opaque wall, not to be found. Rather, the articles combine to form the portrait of a young man in a remote province who is coming of age as an intellectual and is seeking to fit into an environment that did not allow for faux pas. (20) They also mark an important milestone in a process of intellectual development that did not proceed in a linear manner. Indeed, they indicate a break; one that occurred after December 7, 1941 (perhaps after the entry of the USA into the War), perhaps after July 8, 1943, but certainly not in 1938.

In sum, the texts published in di guardia! undermine Sciascia's oft-repeated affirmation that, in addition to the Spanish Civil War, the signing of a nonaggression pact--on August 23, 1939, by Vyachelslav Molotov for the USSR and Joachim von Ribbentrop for Germany--confirmed once and for all an antifascism instilled in him at a very early age by the aunts who raised him.

Sciascia discusses the Molotov-von Ribbentrop pact in "Ultima Russia" (L.S., 1941c) -- which appeared a week after Italy declared war on the USSR (June 22, 1941) -- on the front page of di guardia! (21) He argues that this treaty had served the USSR as a subterfuge for temporarily "exempting" the Soviets from the growing hostilities that were destined--as Georgi Dimitroff, Secretary of the Comintern, had said at the time of its signing--to be "a war between imperialisms." Of course, Sciascia adds, Dimitroff had no way of knowing "le mete dell'Asse." Dimitroff had seen it as nothing more than a setting of boundaries, "se non di solidarieta, di indifferenza." But then, in November 1939, when the Soviets felt "threatened" by Finland, they conquered that neighbor, and then (in June 1940) the Baltic States. Then the Soviets took advantage of "un passo conciliante dei tedeschi" to occupy Eastern Poland, and then (in late June 1940) before occupying the Romanian regions of Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina.

As for Italy--with the arrival of "[i]l comunismo nel cuore dell'Europa"--"noi attendevamo" (L.S., 1941).

But Italy, he continues, now has finally declared war on the Soviet Union; Stalin, for his part, has shed his mask, exposing "il volto del bolscevismo internazionale" and betraying--precisely as he did during the Spanish Civil War--the "socialismo scientifico e marxista, antiborghese, ateo, antimilitarista" of Lenin. Furthermore, "dopo innumerevoli tradimenti tradisce oggi anche Lenin con una guerra bolscevica europea." This is why, he argues, "[b]isogna ancora lottare." In fact, given that "la nostra guerra contro l'U.S.S.R. ha avuto inizio. [...] Bisogna Vincere. / E sempre e luminosa la certezza" (L.S., 1941).

Regarding Sciascia's "gusto della beffa," mentioned above, he explicitly discusses the matter in "L'intelligenza degli ex" (Sciascia, 1991 [1951]) an article that appeared in the official organ of Palermo's Christian Democrats, Sicilia del popolo, in 1951. (22) One of the "ex" in question had written, on the pages of "il solito <<Meridiano d'Italia>>" (a weekly published in Milan by the extreme Right) of having been informed (by a second, anonymous "ex") of Sciascia's "passato, un passato nerissimo, cioe fascista." Indeed, "[i] due ex ci accusano di avere, tra il '40 e il '43, parlato, in qualita di iscritti al Guf, da fascisti e a un fascista" (Sciascia, 1991 [1951]; p. 330). (23)

But the two "ex" ignore, he writes, "un piccolo dettaglio: nel 1938, a Caltanissetta noi entrammo nelle file del Partito Comunista italiano:" "[n]oi siamo entrati nel Partito Comunista a 18 anni e ne siamo usciti a 24" (that is, in 1945). His departure, he adds, was "non senza oscillazioni, non senza crisi" (Sciascia, 1991 [1951]: 330), an understandable state of mind, since 1945 is more or less when he became involved with the publisher Salvatore Sciascia and drew close politically to Giuseppe Alessi, historical leader of the Sicilian Christian Democracy.

However, Sciascia's claim--that he joined the clandestine Pci in 1938 and left in 1945--has not only been contradicted by Emanuele Macaluso, but by Sciascia himself, numerous times, as his public self-image evolved. (24)

In "L'intelligenza degli ex," Sciascia goes on to explain how, in the early 1940s, his friend "Gino Cortese, oggi all'Assemblea Regionale Siciliana," in other words someone with impeccable Communist credentials, "riteneva, e noi con lui e con tutti, che occorreva giocare <<doppio>>." (25) And this is what they did: amuse themselves with "divertenti beffe" at the expense of Fascists whom he describes as "stupidi," "cretini," and "di una ignoranza a prova di bomba" (Sciascia, 1991 [1951]: 330). Then--once again adopting, as we have seen several times above, the pluralis majestatis (26)--he declares: "[p]referiremmo discutere con un qualsiasi ospite di una clinica psichiatrica piuttosto che con un ex: anche se questo ex quotidianamente ci saluta o al caffe viene a sedere al nostro tavolo" (Sciascia, 1991 [1951]: 331).

Indeed, Sciascia points directly--as proof of his ability to be applauded for having made "discors[i] antifascist[i]" that passed for "fascist[i]"--to the di guardia! articles currently under examination: "[s]egnaliamo agli ex che ne avessero voglia il quindicinale <<Di guardia>>, della federazione fascista di Caltanissetta: troveranno degli articoli che potremmo oggi ripubblicare senza arrossire" (Sciascia, 1991 [1951]: 330). A strong statement, to be sure. Why they would not cause their author to "blush" is more difficult to understand. (27)

If we now look more closely at Sciascia's contributions to diguardia!, the image is that of a sectarian writer; someone who was not so much a frondista (as Sciascia described himself to Santini [1973: 45]), but very much in agreement with the government propaganda line of the time.

Sciascia's (L.S., 1940b) second contribution to di guar dial, "Churchill e l'antenato" (I will deal presently with the first, "Gibilterra" [L.S., 1940c]), was published on September 1, 1940, a scant three months after Italy declared war on France and England. Sciascia uses as pretext an ancestor of Winston Churchill--the first Duke of Marlborough, John Churchill (1650-1722) -- to argue that Britain--because it is led by a member of a corrupt bourgeoisie--will soon splinter and fall under its own weight.

On May 10, 1940, precisely a month before the declaration of hostilities, Churchill had replaced Neville Chamberlain, the architect of the so-called policy of appeasement (the "Munich Agreement," that conceded the German-speaking part of Czechoslovakia to Hitler), at the helm of the British government. Churchill, as is well known, was much less inclined than his predecessor to use diplomacy and was known as a capable military leader.

In "Churchill e l'antenato" (L.S., 1940b) the image of John Churchill portrayed by Sciascia is that of "un curioso miscuglio di amoralita, di giustizia, e di genio." John's social ascent began when he became a page in a nobleman's service thanks to the intervention of his sister, a courtesan. John Churchill then leveraged that position to become the lover of a noblewoman who gave him a generous gift of cash, which he lent out at usury. "Tutta la sua camera continua cosi rutilante di partigianeria, di imbrogli, di tradimenti. Tre quarti di suo splendido successo egli li dovette alle donne: alla sorella, alla moglie e alle amanti." Six generations later, Winston's career went forward following similar amoral lines. But while Churchill the elder was, at least, "un grande soldato e una grande canaglia," the Prime Minister "e solo un dilettante, come disse Hitler, animato da un odio cieco e irragionevole, abbastanza canaglia ma poco soldato." And the citizens of England, L.S. (1940b) proffers, will soon rue that Churchill will lead their war effort; when the English entrusted their fate to him, they made manifest their "intention to commit suicide."

"99 anni di affitto" (L.S., 1940a) appeared in the same issue of the bi-weekly (1 September 1940 [XVIII]), and in it resonate the notes struck in "Churchill e l'antenato." Despite the fact that "[b]asi aereo-navali nelle Antille e nel Canada vengono cedute" to the Crown, and "con piena allegria," the British Empire is falling to pieces. The English promise military "surprises," but:
tutti ormai sanno quali siano le sorprese inglesi: uova di cioccolatta
[sic] che si frantumano per tirarne fuori un ciondolino di latta,
colpi tirati a caso sui passanti senza ledere i bersagli, bombelle e
sigari di signori annoiati che se non altro spezzonano il pubblico di
illusioni, di certezze, di menzogne.


"[L]'impero inglese frana--disperatamente, incoscientemente, senza riparo." Foolishly, the Brits hope for a repeat of their success in the First World War, forgetful of the fact that their victory was attained only because of the arrival of the "deus ex machina dalla <<voce bassa>>, e dal <<bastone grosso>>": "i yankees." The Americans, he asks, "[v]erranno agitando il randello del lepido, vecchio Roosevelt?" L.S. (1940a) does not think so: "gli americani non verranno; verranno magari i Tedeschi, gl'Italiani, l'ammiraglio Nelson, lord Wellington, il Padre Eterno cosi furentemente invocato--gli americani no." The USA will not enter into a military alliance with Britain because Roosevelt "guarda lontano." Not, of course, toward Europe, but "oltre San Francisco, nel Pacifico." Why? To be sure that "non appaia domani un sole rosso [giapponese] a turbare lavoratori e grattacieli e dive."

For these reasons, the British would do well to not "parlar forte sentendosi in mano un piumino da cipria invece del duro bastone." (28)

The reference to Roosevelt follows, by precisely one year, the US President's declaration of neutrality (September 5, 1939), made soon after the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop treaty. In 1979, a year after the publication of L'Affaire Mow, Sciascia told an interviewer, Marcelle Padovani, that this diplomatic agreement caused him a "lunga e greve insonnia" (Sciascia, 1979b: 9): Stalin had chosen to strengthen internally the Soviet Union and abandon the antifascist forces active in Western Europe to their own devices. Sciascia thus reiterated what he had averred six years prior, when asked by the journalist Enzo Biagi (1973: 3) to name his "grandi dolori." Sciascia had named only two: the suicide of his younger brother in 1948 and, on the public side, "il patto Ribbentrop-Molotov." (29)

The portion of the Padovani interview just cited is revealing, at least for present purposes, because it demonstrates how Sciascia's narrative evolved in retrospect. On the same page of this interview, Sciascia claims that the Second Italo-Abyssinian War (1935-1937) had stimulated in him "un certo entusiasmo e per l'impresa militare in se e--echoing the official Fascist line--per il fatto che I'ltalia era condannata ed economicamente <<assediata>> da altri stati non meno imperialisti, non meno colonialisti" (Sciascia, 1979b: 9). Then Sciascia glides seamlessly from the indicative to the subjunctive mood, a rhetorical strategy that enables him to submit speculation as fact: "[c]redo che agisse, in me, riguardo a quella guerra, una specie di istinto di classe, il sentirmi parte di un popolo povero che i popoli ricchi volevano soffocare" (Sciascia, 1979b: 9; the Italians, of course, were the "popolo povero" here, not the Ethiopians, who were vilified by Fascism's 'racial campaign'). Sciascia's use of the subjunctive (30) is important because, as his career as a public intellectual clearly demonstrates, he took from the French Revolution a conception of freedom more in line with the liberal tradition born in 1789 (civil liberties), than the democratic uprising of 1793, which added fraternite to the principles of 1789, liberie and egalite--in an unsuccessful attempt to go beyond bourgeois individualism and create a true community based in social justice (Liguori, 2009: 61).

Sciascia then seals the truth value of his speculation for his interlocutors by declaring: "[p]oco piu tardi, con la guerra di Spagna, la mia avversione al fascismo divenne netta, assoluta." He then proceeds to explain that his disapproval was not ideological ("non sono mai riuscito ad accettare integralmente una ideologia, a risolvere tutto in essa"), but "sentimentale, morale, intellettuale" (Sciascia, 1979b: 9). In other words, his aversion was not assimilated into a system of thought, but remained intellectual (relating to thought) and sui generis (hence the demand that he be afforded the right to "contraddirsi").

But neither intellectual disinclination nor his disapproval of a wealthy people, the English, explains his wish that Gibraltar (the gateway to the Mediterranean; in Sciascia's words, "il nostro mare") be soon liberated by the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco.

"Gibilterra" (Sciascia's debut on the pages of di guar-dia!) begins with a boutade: "[d]ice un nostro umorista che l'onesta e una parola scoperta dagli inglesi quando si accorsero che al mondo non c'era piu nulla da rubare" (L.S., 1940c). Indeed, beginning in the early 17th century the English "erano riusciti ad introdursi largamente nel nostro mare." (31) Thus, Gibraltar is the symbol par excellence of an imperialist system designed to subjugate the peoples of the Mediterranean. Now, to add insult to injury, "[d]avanti alla Spagna rinata da una immane tortura sta il ghignare di una scritta: <<No entrance>>." (32)

But, he continues, "[g]li spagnoli guardano e attendono." And so the English must understand: "il loro controllo alle porte di casa nostra e gia un anacronismo." Indeed, "domani gli spagnoli di Franco riconquisteranno la loro terra asservita da un cieco, barbaro, triste sistema."

How this concords with what Sciascia told Padovani in 1979--"i miei sentimenti e le mie reazioni di quegli anni li ho gia raccontati: nelle Parrocchie di Regalpetra e nell'Antimonio" (debut works, from the mid- and late 1950s, in which his aversion to the Falangist cause is indeed, as Sciascia avers, "netta, assoluta" [Sciascia, 1979b: 9]) is much less clear.

To Padovani, Sciascia does admit that his mining of memory causes him to "eccessivamente semplific[are] un processo molto complesso, molto lungo, molto oscuro anche." He also concedes that he is "tirando fuori dei frammenti; e chi sa poi quanto attendibili. Come ogni cosa di noi, anche la memoria spesso e inganno."

But he also tells Padovani that he has reached an age in which his memory is farsighted: "in questi ultimi anni mi fa vedere nitide le cose lontane e confuse le vicine [...] ricordo ora cose che dieci anni fa non ricordavo, ricordo sempre piu cose lontane, nitidamente." He then asks how this can this be: "[m]a e possibile, mi domando, che tutti questi anni non abbiano agito sulle cose sepolte nella memoria, che non li abbiano in qualche modo alterate, intaccate?..."

He provides no answer. Instead, and with great speed and agility, Sciascia diverts our attention by suddenly changing the topic: "ecco un'altra cosa lontana, lontanissima, che prima non ricordavo e ora ricordo"--his childhood love for the utensils of writing, a memory that quickly brings to mind thoughts of his paternal grandfather (Sciascia, 1979b: 11-12).

To this point, "Montecitorio" (Sciascia, 1979a), is a revealing example of the means and ends of Sciascia's autobiographical strategy, because its premise, in his words, is an "attendibilissima" memory from his earliest childhood. This fondo is another blend of autobiography and opinion. It appeared while the hearings held by the Italian Parliament's Moro commission, on which Sciascia participated, were ongoing. To be more precise, it was published on the front page of Corriere della sera the morning of the first elections for the European Parliament. Italians were thus afforded the opportunity to read this essay while heading to the polls:
Avevo poco piu di tre anni, non superavo la ringhiera del balconcino:
e di tra i ghirigori del ferro battuto guardavo la scuola elementare
che era di fronte casa nostra dove--tutti intorno a me dicevano--si
andava a votare per la Camera dei Deputati. Cera, aggrumata
all'ingresso della scuola, una piccola folia di uomini in camicia nera,
pantaloni grigioverde, stivali. Il nero delle camicie non potevo
pensarlo, in ordine alle ragioni per cui le tante donne della famiglia
perennemente di nero si vestivano, che come segno di pena, di lutto:
mi dava percio un senso di apprensione, a contrasto con di quel che di
festivo c'era nella gente che andava a votare. E soltanto un'immagine,
soltanto una sensazione: ma potrebbe anche servire, e attendibilissima
per l'inconsapevolezza con cui e stata registrata, come testimonianza
a carico. (Sciascia, 1979a; emphasis mine)


We cannot ascertain the extent to which details of this memory are completed in hindsight. But Sciascia claims his memories and sensations are reliable and trustworthy because they were recorded with unawareness; therefore, one must assume, objectively and with no hidden or ulterior motive.

In the long quotation just cited, I placed "registrare" in italics because the definition of the word given by online Nuovo De Mauro (33) is "segnare, annotare, anche mentalmente." But the word can also denote appuntare, schedare, immagazzinare dati e informazioni, presentare come dato in uno scritto. That is, registrare (to record) connotes the permanence of writing, not the ephemerality and mutability of images and sensations that have been merely ricordate. Indeed, other definitions of registrare are: a) rilevare e segnalare un dato fenomeno per mezzo di uno specifico strumento o dispositivo and b) raccogliere suoni o immagini per mezzo di apparecchiature specifiche fissandoli su supporti come dischi, nastri o cassette, per riprodurli. "Raccogliere [...] immagini [...] per riprodurle." This is precisely what Sciascia does here.

And so, even if we set aside how "nitidamente" anyone, including a man in his late fifties, can remember an event that took place when he was three years old, and the sensations he associates with "perennial" mourning (if lutto and its attire are "perennial," is not one, especially an infant who has known nothing else, inured?), is it fair to assume that Sciascia, when he offers up this "testimonianza a carico (on July 23, 1979) -- less than 15 months after the assassination of Aldo Moro (May 9, 1978) and 11 months after completing L 'Affaire Moro (August 24, 1978) -- is completely ingenuous? His testimony, after all, is "a carico di" the members of the Italian Parliament. And testimony, if we continue his metaphor, must be truthful, lest one risk a penalty for perjury.

Sciascia's "testimony" builds on Mussolini's description of the aula of Montecitorio as "sorda e grigia," to then describe--from his vantage: "un banco alto della sinistra"--its occupants "[u]na sorda e grigia umanita: di condannati che si considerano eletti. Solo," he adds, "se si considerassero condannati e sarebbero meno sordi, meno grigi." Perhaps. But the question remains: to whom is Sciascia's "testimonianza a carico directed?" One might assume he is speaking to the 'judge of public opinion.' But his conclusion would indicate he is involving a higher authority: "al contrario che nel regno di Dio, in una repubblica democratica molti sono gli eletti, pochi i chiamati."

Note

(1.) Squillacioti notes that the number and authorship of these pieces need to be evaluated. But to my knowledge Pupo's findings have not been challenged. In support of his attributions, Pupo cites both a passage from Nero su nero in which Sciascia writes of an "anima bottaiana" within Italian Fascism that was "addestrata al 'doppio gioco'"and another important "articolo 'disperso,'" from 1951, he uncovered ("L'intelligenza degli ex") which I will discuss further on.

(2.) 23 November 1941 [XIX]. The other is "Cristallizzazione" (l.s., 1941; 20 January 1941 [XIX]), which I mention in note 31.

(3.) The purpose of this article is to disseminate information about the proper functioning of the Regime's health care system. To that end, it cautions both providers and users. For example, there is a clear warning to those who create false shortages in the medical field ("[s]tiano in guardia [...] gli... accaparratori. Cambino mestiere. Il Regime non tollera tali... attivita!!!"). Sciascia also singles out physicians who promise miraculous cures or who habitually fail to prescribe laboratory tests when making their diagnoses. There are also clear admonitions to health care users. Those who fail to sign up for government-sponsored health care ("a casa mia del medico non ne abbiamo mai avuto di bisogno") will be denied coverage when it becomes necessary; those who are afflicted with tuberculosis but are unwilling to check into a sanatorium need to know their proximity is a present and unnecessary danger to their loved ones. There is also a warning to the "furbi" who receive health compensation under false pretenses while continuing to work: "[b]el... furbo...," when your employment sheet lands in the government employment office you will lose benefits for two months.

(4.) For example, "Kennedy capisce" (Leonardo Sciascia, 1940b; 5 December 1940 [XIX]) is a commentary on remarks made by Roosevelt's ambassador to England -- Joseph P Kennedy, Sr--who told the Boston Globe (Lyons, 1940) on 10 November 1940 that it made no sense for the USA to get involved in the European theater. He said they would be left "holding the bag," and that the only reason the USA was supporting England was to buy time for its own rearmament (Lyons).

(5.) A fourth, "Monroe gli americani e gli inglesi" (S. Sciascia, 1941; 3 gennaio 1941 [XIX]) is signed "S. Sciascia." This is the only signed piece to appear on the first page of the journal. Despite the signature, its author is probably Leonardo Sciascia because it contains mention of how "[p]iu volte abbiamo parlato delle relazioni anglo-americane in questa guerra," a clear reference to the other pieces quoted herein. In "Monroe" the author makes note of the paradox ("prestidigitazione," to use his term) of the American people who vaunt their pacifism and isolationism (their "' vogliamoesseresoli" or neutrality) to the rest of the world, while shielding, behind the Monroe Doctrine and from possible Axis aggression, British colonies such as the Bermuda and the Malvinas Islands. In this and in other pieces he chides the ardent British hope for an American military involvement; he predicts "sul ring d'Europa gli americani non verranno mai a battersi."

(6.) While one might assume that since Sciascia signed several of these articles, the ones he initialed are those to which he attributed lesser importance. However, because all signed articles appear on the internal pages of the periodical (with the exception of "Monroe gli americani e gli inglesi" [S. Sciascia, 1941]), while those that appear on the front page are initialed, I am inclined to attribute this peculiarity to the lack of journalistic experience of the author and the editors of di guardia!.

(7.) Yet, as Sciascia stated in one interview, his mission was that of making known "la propria verita, o meglio: la verita" (Dauphine, 1991: 44). That is, he equated his own subjective truth with objective Truth. But he was not able to define either--"Truth," or "truth"--with any sort of precision. When pressed, the best he could offer was "la verita si sente." Indeed, he adds, "Cristo non puo rispondere a Pilato che cosa e la verita. Qualcosa di ineffabile" (Sciascia, 1982: 230-231).

(8.) The term "illusory truth effect" denotes a mental process that equates repetition with truth. Fazio et al. (2015) argue that "illusory truth" is a rhetorical technique based in ambiguity and redundancy: "misconceptions enter our knowledge base and inform our choices" because of the facility of "processing fluency" ("the ease with which people comprehend statements" [Fazio et al., 2015: 993]). Such fluency "informs a variety of judgements" (Fazio et al., 2015: 993) and is facilitated by repetition.

(9.) Sciascia not only contributed to the selection and organizing of the table of contents of his collected Opere (Ambroise, 1987b: VIII), but included in his will an injunction against releasing works not published in his lifetime (C.A., 1991: 954-955). Moreover, as Squillacioti (2012: XXII) reminds us, the editor of La palma va a nord, Valter Vecellio, in his introduction to its first edition of that volume acknowledged Sciascia's collaboration in choosing the interviews that appeared there. However, this explicit mention of Sciascia's role as self-editor does not appear in the second edition. Rather, it is edited and merely implied by the subject pronoun that may or may not employ the pluralis majestatis: "Sciascia ha acconsentito alla pubblicazione degli scritti che [noi] abbiamo 'selezionato', senza porci condizioni alcuna" (Sciascia, 1982: 277).

(10.) In this regard, in addition to Collura( 1996), see "Memorievicine" (Sciascia, 1954). In this early autobiographical sketch, chronological order is set aside, allowing the writer to justify various life choices in hindsight, to gloss over blank spots in his memory (e.g. "[p]assai le vacanze leggendo libri di americani, non ricordo come mi fossero venuti tra le mani" [209]), and to conjecture ("forse" [201] the arrogance of a Fascist official is what transformed his apolitical uncle into an antifascist). In this same piece, Sciascia, who in 1943 was 22 years old, may be referring to his uncles when describing the bewilderment of long-time Fascists when the awareness set in that the War was irrevocably lost: "[u]na luce di sangue raggelava improvvisamente la scena: quei pupi che si agitavano sciocchi trascinavano ora tragiche ombre, grottesche ombre umane idropiche di paura. Cominciava per me la vicenda della pieta. Un terribile sentimento, la pieta. Un uomo deve amare ed odiare: mai aver pieta, Un uomo dico. E io ero ancora un ragazzo" (Sciascia, 1954: 216). As for Sciascia's introduction to American literature, the voice of Le parrocchie di Regalpetra will recall that it was Giuseppe "Giugiu" Granata, "mio professore di lettere, poi divenuto senatore comunista" who opened up this new area: fu lui a prestarmi il primo libro che ho letto di Dos Passos, Il 42[degress] parallelo" (Sciascia 1987 [2004] Opere I, 113). For Granata, see infra note 14; for his teaching, see Vilardo, pages 31-32.

(11.) Nonetheless, Collura (1996: 248) describes Sciascia as having "una visione politica in tutto coincidente con quella di uno Stato etico."

(12.) After the War, Cortese was a member of the Communist delegation at the Assemblea Regionale Siciliana (from 1947 to 1967). He was also for a time provincial Secretary of the Communist Party in Caltanissetta and assessore at the Commune di Caltanissetta. He went on to teach philosophy at the University of Messina (Repubblica Italiana Assemblea Regionale Siciliana, n.d.).

(13.) Emanuele Macaluso was an 'historical' leader of the Pci. He served as Regional Secretary of the CGIL from 1947 to 1956, when he resigned to join the Communist delegation to the Sicilian Regional Assembly and was coopted into the Pci's Central Committee. He was a Communist MP from 1963 to 1976 and a Senator from 1976 until the Party disbanded in 1992. He joined the clandestine Pci in 1941 and worked as a labor organizer. So (if we consider the activism of Macaluso and Boccadutri [see note 17]) what Sciascia told Santini was not entirely the case: that in the period leading up to and following the Allied invasion of Sicily, "[g]li antifascist veri erano pochi e si tirarono indietro. E anche tutte le persone oneste si tirarono indietro..." (Santini, 1973: 44).

(14.) For Emanuele Macaluso's brother, see Vilardo (2012: 94, 98) and Collura (1996: 99). Another important literary influence on the young Sciascia was a high school teacher, Giuseppe Granata. Giuseppe Granata was one of "[g]li insegnanti che hanno aperto capaci varchi alle nostre giovanili curiosita e ci hanno portato alla consapevolezza, alla ragione," to borrow Vilardo's (2012: 39) phrasing. Born in Porto Empedocle in 1918, Granata was elected senator in 1958 (III Legislatura) as an independent within the Pci list, in the college of Piazza Armerina, and re-elected in 1963. In 1968 he was elected to the Chamber of Deputies, again as an independent within the Pci list, in the college of Palermo (Manacorda, 1995: 641; Senato della Repubblica, n.d.).

(15.) Sciascia maintained a cordial relationship with Colajanni through the 1950s (La Cava and Sciascia, 2012: 285), and mentions him in an autobiographical piece written in 1962 (Sciascia, 1962: 261, 262).

(16.) Boccadutri joined the clandestine Partito Comunista d'ltalia in 1929-1930. He was born in 1907, in Favara (a suburb of Agrigento), where he helped establish the first Communist cell in Sicily. Boccadutri was charged with organizing other cells in nearby towns (Canicatti, Ribera, Campobello di Licata, Ravanusa, all in the province of Agrigento), where fellow communists resided (Falcone, 1992: 45). He was "phi volte incarcerato" and an "infaticabile tessitore di reti clandestine. Fu lui a reclutare Emanuele Macaluso e molti altri"; while the Allies "stavano ricostruendo l'amministrazione civile rivolgendosi al parroco e al proprietario dei luoghi, [t]ramite figure come Boccadutri, il Pci ando in caccia dei suoi militanti clandestini per rimettersi in moto" (Mastropaolo, 2017: 156).

(17.) "Ho conosciuto Nana--cosi lo chiamavano gli amici a lui piu vicini--nel lontanissimo 1936-37, quando una provvidenziale e veramente felice bocciatura mi fece compagno di banco e araico per la vita..."; "veramente inseparabili eravamo..." (Vilardo, 2012: 21, 23). His recollections do coincide with Sciascia's regarding the importance of their interactions with Colajanni, Cortese, as well as the Christian Democrat Giuseppe Alessi, editor of Sicilia del popolo (Vilardo, 2012: 40), where Sciascia first cut his teeth as a writer.

(18.) That Sciascia's family read the Vatican daily, L'Osservatore Romano, is confirmed by Sciascia (1954: 213).

(19.) As concerns Sciascia's biography, the term "in aenigmate" may perhaps be most appropriately applied to Sciascia's mentor in the years immediately following the War, Giuseppe Alessi (an important Christian Democrat throughout Italy's so-called First Republic), particularly his coded Lecturae Dantis, "tenute con uno scopo diciamo politico," one that provided his audience "barlumi di antifascismo" (Collura, 1996: 100).

(20.) I agree with Pupo (2011: 14): there is no need to demonstrate any "coerenza," "fittizia," or otherwise in Sciascia's youth.

(21.) 1 July 1941 [XIX].

(22.) It was this piece that directed Pupo's (2011: 21) attention to di guardia!, as we shall see presently.

(23.) What provoked Sciascia's ire was an item published in a column ("Clessidra") titled "il gufino che gufa." Its author "L'Ex," describes Sciascia as an "<<ex>> tutto che, capito il vento che tira, s'e messo alla greppia democristiana." "L'Ex" goes on to tell of how "[u]n provvido lettore di Racalmuto ci ha eruditi sulla storia del saccente crociato ex crociano, adulteratore di storie." According to "L'ex," "[n]el lontano inizio del fatale 1943, quando si cominciavano a vedere gli effetti del tradimento che sabotava la guerra, la Federazione Fascista di Agrigento consiglio ai Segretari politici della provincia di organizzare conferenze di propaganda per dare coraggio alle popolazioni e incitarle a mantenere salda la loro fede nel Duce. Ebbene, chi fu il primo oratore in quel di Racalmuto? Si, proprio lui: il nostro Sciuscia (alias Sciascia), che ripetutamente si prodigo poi nei vari circoli cittadini, con fascistissimi discorsi non obliati".

(24.) To quickly cite one example, in the early 1980s Sciascia recalled how, "[n]el 1943, allo sbarco degli americani in Sicilia, credevo di essere comunista: e per il fatto che i soli antifascisti che avessi conosciuto, dalla guerra di Spagna a quella europea, erano tutti comunisti. Antifascisti attivi, voglio dire, poiche di antifascisti generici, mugugnanti ce n'erano tanti, dal '40 in poi, da far dire a Croce che le iscrizioni all'antifascismo erano chiuse. [...] Ho detto che credevo, a quel momento, di essere comunista. Ma non lo ero, e non lo sono mai stato. In effetti, piu che il mito dell'Unione Sovietica e del comunismo, vivevo del mito dell'America. Sapevo piu della letteratura americana, del New Deal e dell'amministrazione Roosevelt, che della Russia. Anche della Sicilia, storia, scrittori, sapevo poco" (Sciascia, 1981).

(25.) Togliatti encouraged Communists teaching in the Italian university system (a notable example being Concetto Marchesi [Allason, 2005: 325-327, 351]) to take the oath of allegiance to Fascism in order to forestall a Fascist monopoly on university-level instruction and to sow seeds of discord. Croce did more or less the same with "Liberal" university faculty, and for the same reasons (Amendola, 1974: 101).

(26.) For the pluralis maiestatis, see note 9.

(27.) Sciascia goes on to dare his accusers to call "gli ex <<doppiogiochisti>>" such as himself "<<traditori>>, <<antipatriottici>>." If the former Fascists are "patriotic," then a distinction must be made, he contends, between the false patriotism of the Fascist "mascalzoni" and the real patriotism of the "beffatori doppiogiochisti." To explain, in the decades following the War, Sciascia would repeated affirm that those who truly undermined Fascism in the 1930s were frondisti such as Brancati and Longanesi, and not those who fought the Regime from exile or as part of an underground resistance. For example, "[n]ei regimi totalitari a volte accade che coloro che piu cinicamente li servono riescano a fare, nel senso della liberta, piu di coloro che notoriamente li avversano" (Sciascia, 1976: 36). Hence, Sciascia's equation of the political awakening of the protagonist of his L'antimonio to that of Davide Lajolo, "voltagabbana" {[The Traitor] the title of the book in which Lajolo (1963) analyzes his "catharsis," to use Gramsci's term, and conversion to the antifascist cause). Sciascia (1963: 136) argues that "il tempo di quella guerra non sarebbe bastato, non e bastato, per la conversione," and cites Lajolo and Ruggero Zangrandi's (1962) "long voyage" across Fascism as emblematic of an entire generation of antifascists who came of age not in exile, but within the cultural and political institutions of the Regime, in order to implicitly re-affirm his own conversion as occurring over a period of time far in advance of Pearl Harbor and the Allied landing in Sicily. Thus, he continues, when considering his own generation "e da studiare il lento processo di demistificazione interna della cultura fascista, perseguito in base all'equivoco delle origini socialiste del fascismo al cui ritorno si aspirava" (Sciascia, 1963: 196, emphasis in original).

(28.) In late 1941, Sciascia, in "Propaganda democratica" (L.S., 1941b; 18 dicembre 1941 [XIX]), questions the accuracy of the reporting of the London Times: "[m]entre il <<Times>> si sbriciola come un castello di cioccolatta [sic] sotto i colpi dei nostri bombardieri, si continua a fantasticare di successi, di supremazie e di vittorie. / Con una esperienza di fughe e di crolli che sta per divenire paralisi cardiaca, la Reuter continua a sognare di epilessie balcaniche, di americani in vista, di greci che buttano a mare gl'italiani e di inglesi che mandano a picco i tedeschi." Indeed: "[g]onfiano palloncini da fiera, per farli diventare palloni frenati, soffiano per raffreddare un piatto bruciante credendo di provocare un ciclone." As a result, the British press has lost all credibility: "[f]ingeranno di credere solo gli americani: a crederci veramente non rimane che l'arcivescovo di Canterbury."

(29.) The question of Roosevelt's relationship with Britain and a possible armed military intervention by the USA in Europe recurs in Sciascia's contributions to diguardia!. "Elezioni" (L. Sciascia, 1940; 1 November 1940 [XIX]) is an acerbic commentary on the 1940 presidential election campaign in the USA, which saw, on November 5, 1940, Roosevelt elected for a third term. Significantly, Sciascia cites a forged 1853 letter from Abraham Lincoln to the Italian physicist Macedonio Melloni (1798-1854) to support the Regime's territorial claims in the Mediterranean: "[e]cco, Lincoln va rimuginando la sua lettera a Macedonio Melloni. <<Che diritto ha l'lnghilterra di appropriarsi Gibilterra e Malta? Non e questa appropriazione indebita, una giustificazione al diritto del corsaro e del predone...?>>" (see Komor (1993) for the context and scandal surrounding this letter, and Mussolini's disavowal of it). Sciascia followed up three weeks later with a signed article, "Ancora elezioni" (Leonardo Sciascia, 1940a; 23 November 1940 [XIX]). Here, a forever sleepy Roosevelt, after first seeking peace "con una voce da chierico," now "esort[a] alla guerra con un coraggio trincerato dietro i suoi dollari." We cannot know, he adds, what is going through his mind now that he has won re-election. "Ma sopra i nostri gagliardetti c'e tutta la nostra deferenza al presidente della repubblica d'oltre oceano, in poche espressive parole: e chi se ne frega?"

(30.) Sciascia's prowess in submitting opinion as fact comes very clearly to the fore in an interview published in the daily Lotta continua (Sciascia, 1978) soon after L'Affaire Moro: the dialogue is replete with verbs in the subjunctive mood and speculation of the relationship established between the hostage and his captors. To cite just a few: "Io mi immagino," "un brigatista gli avra detto," "[c]redo che Moro non abbia subito il processo, non si sia fatto processare," and so on.

(31.) The quip that opens "Gibilterra" resonates in "Cristallizzazione" (l.s., 1941), Sciascia's final submission to the Fascist periodical (20 January 1941, six weeks after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor). "Cristallizzazione" is a brief parody, marked by its strapaesano tone, of bourgeois women, whose lives are wasted in "un vuoto pneumatico". "La donna borghese," he writes, "diversa ed uguale per ogni luogo" is not "chiusa in una geometria sociale" but "nei confini stessi della phi assoluta e inconcepibile mediocrita."

(32.) Such comments cause one to question often-repeated youthful memories reconstructed with the benefit of hindsight. For example, this tribute to Alberto Savinio: "... tutto il fascismo e certo antifascismo diciamo ufficializzato, appunto erano angustia e poverta: nel loro costituirsi, insieme e di fatto, come <<antieuropea>> (che poi era il titolo di una rivista del regime). Savinio, ecco, era l'Europa: l'Europa ancora libera, ricca di idee di contraddizioni di <<degenerazioni>>, inquieta, minacciata; quella in cui ancora si poteva scrivere, e leggere soprattutto, qualunque libro si volesse: quella che accorreva in Spagna dalla parte della Repubblica e in Francia era arrivata al fronte popolare" (Sciascia, 1976: 37).

(33.) Internazionale (n.d.a). By contrast, the definition of ricordare is: "conservare, avere presente nella memoria" {Internazionale, n.d.b).

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Joseph Francese

Michigan State University, USA

Corresponding author:

Joseph Francese, Department of Romance and Classical Studies, Michigan State University, B-453 Wells Hall,

East Lansing, Ml, 48824, USA.

Email: francese@msu.edu

DOI: 10.1177/0014585819854048
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