Monday, March 4, 2019
The Earth Will Shake reading group, Week Two
Francesca da Polenta, enjoying her ill-fated love affair with Paolo Malatesta. (Francesca da Rimini (1837), by William Dyce.)
This week, please read from page 20, "Sigismundo said good morning to everybody without looking at anybody," to page 43, "where were found the avatars of Satan himself, the violent against God and man."
I looked up some of the references in this section:
Naples has a long entry on Wikipedia; as Wilson says, it was a Greek, like many cities in southern Italy.
Uncle Pietro mentions that the ancestors of the Malatestas are "the princes of Rimini" who "once had interests that went beyond money grubbing and commerce," page 24. There is a Wikipedia entry for the House of Malatesta that ruled over Rimini. Some of the Malatestas are famous in literature, the entry says: "Giovanni Malatesta is chiefly famous because he murdered his wife Francesca da Polenta and his younger brother Paolo in 1285, having discovered them in adultery, and the murder is recorded in Dante's Inferno as well as in a story by Giovanni Boccaccio." Rimini is a city in northern Italy on the Adriatic coast. Lines from Inferno referring to the murder are alluded to in James Joyce's Ulysses.
Giuliano de' Medici, whose murder at age 25 in a Florence cathedral apparently inspired the murder that opens The Earth Will Shake
Guilliame de Medici, mentioned in the text on page 42, is rendered on Wikipedia as Giuliano de' Medici. He was murdered in Florence Cathedral in 1478, the beginning incident of the Pazzi Conspiracy. The conspiracy failed, although it apparently had the support of the Pope.
The Carbonari are discussed on Wikipedia as a secret society in Naples and elsewhere, with members who included Lafayette and Lord Byron. The Alumbrados also merit an entry.
"Marta Alla Francia, Italia Anela," page 28. This is another copyediting mistake; it should be "Morte." When you have the correct phrase, you can look it up and read about the two theories about the origin of the word "mafia."
"Leave murder to the professionals." Page 33. Fortunately, the study of literature can be carried out by amateurs.
I looked up the cathedral where Leonardo Malatesta is murdered, the Cathedral of San Francesco di Paola in Naples. It was built in the early 19th century, according to Wikipedia, so using it as the site of the murder may be a mistake.