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Santo Lombino, Ed. Raccontare la vita, raccontare la migrazione. Atti del convegno di studi per il centenario della nascita di Tommaso Bordonaro.

Santo Lombino, Ed. Raccontare la vita, raccontare la migrazione. Atti del convegno di studi per il centenario della nascita di Tommaso Bordonaro. Palermo: Adarte Editori, 2011. Pp. 212.

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Tommaso Bordonaro's birth, the conference Raccontare la vita, raccontare la migrazione, took place in Bolognetta (October 31 - November 1, 2009). Its proceedings have been published by Adarte Editori, edited by Santo Lombino. It is quite a complex work, which offers contributions by scholars from different scientific fields, with multiple perspectives and methods of analysis, though within the common frame of "migration without an and." This implies a richness in content, which raises in the reader (specialized or not) questions, new interests, curiosity and, why not, even emotions. In general, the volume presents three different approaches (linguistic, artistic/literary and socio-anthropological), and all contributions show obvious contaminations among them.

After the welcome speech given by the Mayor of Bolognetta, Gaspare Rino Greco, the first contribution is from Marco A. Pirrone ("La Sicilia frontiera di migrazioni e bacino di nuove emigrazioni"). He points out how our island has been and still is the border of Europe in the Mediterranean Sea. The author explains that Sicilian migrations could be divided into three phases: from the 60s to the middle 80s, when some people from Sicily moved to the north or even abroad and were replaced by Northern African people; the 80s when Asian and south Saharian groups arrived too; and from the 90s on, with the migratory pressure from the Eastern European countries. He also speaks about the sad topic of CPTA (Temporary Immigrant Holding and Assistance Centers), as Sicily has become an outpost for the so-called Fortress Europe. Ultimately, Pirrone highlights how migrations can actually be considered as the evidence of the economic inequalities of the capitalistic and globalized society.

Marcello Saija ("1909-2009. Un anniversario scomodo: l'omicidio di Joe Petrosino") reconstructs Giuseppe Petrosino's sad story and trip to Sicily at the beginning of the 20th century. Unfortunately there is not much difference between Sicily at that time and Sicily nowadays. Petrosino traveled under an assumed name but he was immediately recognized: especially in Palermo he did not hesitate to have a public life. He was killed on March 12, 1909, just because he had found out the relationship between the maria and the state.

Going through the trial proceedings, Saija focuses especially on the Questor of Palermo at that time, Baldassarre Ceola, who had tried very hard to prove to his superiors the links existing between maria and some important State institutions. The outcome of this story speaks for itself: The Ministry of the Interior asked the Questor to leave Sicily and to interrupt his career for a while. That situation is sadly similar to what happened to many contemporary heroes, from Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa to Falcone and Borsellino.

In Mario G. Giacomarra's work ("Integrazione sociale e costruzione di identita"), there is, first of all, a reflection on the concepts of "assimilation," "cohabitation" and "integration." From assimilation, that is a gradual involvement of the immigrants in the host society; to cohabitation, which is typical of the first stages of contact between different cultures; to integration, which represents still unexplored paths. It is underlined that interculture means first and foremost "communication," interaction, mutual knowledge. Therefore, integration must be understood as an ongoing process and not as a final product. The author, however, states that the theories on integration cannot be always put into practice. The point here is what the concept of identity implies: it is not always easy to understand which factors make up an identity, and it is only from this analysis that we tan have a better understanding of the causes of a crisis, in terms of intercultural mechanisms. Integration and identity cannot be separated because, as Giacomarra says, it is only by building our own identity that we can actually be integrated.

There is a lesser known part of our history, that was analyzed by Salvina Chetta ("L'emigrazione siciliana in Tunisia"), who talks about the link between Tunisia and Italy, particularly Sicily. She remarks that, since the second half of the nineteenth century and up until the twentieth century, Tunisia was one of the main destinations for Sicilians who decided to emigrate in order to escape poverty and exploit the new opportunities this land had to offer. This emigration was made easy by the legal situation of Tunisia, where every foreigner enjoyed the privilege of extraterritoriality. The French protectorate increased these migrations with an eye on the existing and future great public works. The Sicilian from Tunis kept a very strong bond with their native land: we know about a strong and wide-spread devotion to the Madonna of Trapani, and, in both Tunis and Susa there were whole areas inhabited by Sicilians. Of course this also implied some linguistic contaminations. The situation changed in the eighteenth century, when contrasts between France and Italy caused many Italians to leave Tunisia. Today, on the contrary, Sicily is one of Tunisians favorite destinations, although it is often used as a mere gateway to Europe. Chetta makes a clear analysis, which demonstrates that "past migrations are lessons for today".

Santo Lombino ("Comunita, passione per la musica ed esperienza scolastica negli scritti inediti di Tommaso Bordonaro") focuses on Tommaso Bordonaro. Firstly he identifies the explicit and implicit addressees of La spartenza, among whom we find not only the youngsters (as Bordonaro and Lombino clearly said), but also the whole community from Bolognetta. Through the analysis of some unpublished works, Lombino illustrates Bordonaro's passion for music, a passion which was almost inexplicably left untold in La spartenza. Lastly, it is very useful to know Bordonaro's education and linguistic training, which is surely something valuable for language scholars.

Rita Fresu and Ugo Vignuzzi's article ("La spartenza di Tommaso Bordonaro nella tradizione delle scritture popolari in Italia") is also dedicated to Tommaso Bordonaro's work. Analyzing some syntactic and textual parts of Bordonaro's work, and believing that La spartenza does belong to the genre of popular writing, the authors conclude that he possesses a certain "awareness of writing, an achievement that was proudly displayed.

Luisa Amenta ("La spartenza e Terra matta") presents a language comparison between La spartenza and Terra matta (Fontanazza) by Vincenzo Rabito. The two diaries have quite a similar structure, although they develop differently. It is underlined how in both works the will to narrate is stronger than the will to describe: the number of adjectives is, in fact, quite scarce. Amenta stresses how the richness of emotion in the second part of La spartenza, which is dedicated to the adventurous story of migration and job searching. A linguistic analysis of Bordonaro's work is made by Giovanni Ruffino ("La spartenza di Tommaso Bordonaro: note linguistiche"), who analyzes the style and language of La spartenza, in order to define the language peculiarities which characterize Bordonaro's work.

Finally, Sebastiano Martelli, Francesco Virga and Giuseppe Saja's works develop on three different levels. The first scholar, in "Le tentazioni del romanzesco nell'autobiografia inedita di un emigrato meridionale," focuses on Amore e lacrime, the autobiography of Antonino Tasillo, an emigrant from Molise. It is an unpublished work of about rive hundred typed pages. Tasillo's work has got some peculiarities which differentiate it from Rabito's and Bordonaro's works: there is a strong sense of narration and fictionalization and one tan notice a sophisticated use of learned quotations (from Democritus, Kant, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius and, above all, the Bible). In other words, Amoree lacrime is to be considered a very interesting work, especially because of its fictional taste.

Francesco Virga ("Le Poesie dell'emigrazione di Stefano Vilardo), explores Stefano Vilardo's masterpiece (Tutti dicono Germania Germania. Poesie dell'emigrazione)--a valuable document, rich in historical and socio-anthropologic elements, which allows us to "know the real story of Sicilian emigration."

Giuseppe Saja ("Le Lettere di deportati dalla terra di Antonio Castelli") explores the works of Antonio Castelli, from Castelbuono. As the title suggests, he focuses on Lettere di deportati dalla terra, a collection of letters written by "deported" workers, which show the decline of the Southern rural society. The letters were not written by educated people, and they were not meant for publication. Nevertheless, Castelli decided to recreate them, translating the work into Italian (keeping the original syntax, rhythm and punctuation) and maintaining the same features of an oral speech in the written text.

Nicola Grato and Enzo Toto ("Il rito del racconto corale. Genesi di uno spettacolo teatrale"), close the volume. They describe the experience of a dramatic transposition of La spartenza. It is a work which finds its roots in Bordonaro's redundant and emphatic writing. La spartenza is in fact a choral story, which, with its multiplicity, offers the reader a "fragmented" truth.

Finally, there is also an appendix by Donatella Cominotto ("Italiano, siciliano, inglese nell'autobiografia di un italo-americano"). She provides hOt only an important analysis on La spartenza, but she also attaches the entry sheet for the work and the cover letter written by Bordonaro to accompany the manuscript sent to the association of Pieve Santo Stefano (which will later decide to give him an award).

Raccontare la vita, raccontare la migrazione is a necessary "journey" for those (insiders or not) who would like to achieve a less superficial understanding of the concept of migration, of its paths and its prospects. All the authors, each one in his own way, invite the reader to look at this phenomenon from the inside, through the flesh and the "words" of its protagonists. In this way, these contributions underline once more the close link between migration and memory, through which the written text becomes, as the title rightly suggests, a narration of life.


Universita di Palermo
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Author:Bianco, Maurizio Massimo
Publication:Forum Italicum
Article Type:Book review
Date:Mar 22, 2012
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