One of the earliest people to have used Sicily as their muse was Theocritus, a poet who lived from around 310BC to 250BC. Two other poets who lived around the same time during the 1200s, Giacomo da Lentini and Guido Delle Colonne, also took their inspiration from the landscape and occurrences around them.
There is much to be learned from Sicilian literature and indeed, the historians who have also lived in Sicily over the years have noted how literature has changed over time. Writers through the ages have reflected how Sicily’s culture has adjusted and developed through the years. It began to an extent with Greek myth and has grown to influence even the writing in mainland Italy from the last century onwards. Clearly, Sicily and its writers have both had quite a role to play in this respect.
Among the slightly more modern writers to have lived in Sicily, the name Luigi Pirandello springs to mind. This is most notably because he won the Nobel Prize for Literature during the 1930s. Different writers have been influenced by Sicily in different ways. For example Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa only wrote one novel, “Il Gattopardo”, but it became well-known when it was made into a film in the Sixties. Before this, in the Fifties, another Nobel Prize for Literature was handed to a Sicilian resident. Following in the footsteps of Luigi Pirandello, Salvatore Quasimodo won the prize for his efforts as a poet.
Bringing things right up to date with modern times, Andrea Camilleri, a novelist born in 1925, is still with us today. So is Gaetano Cipolla, who is an author and publisher. Clearly the inspiration many have found in Sicily through the ages is still permeating through it today and it is good to know.
Thus if you are visiting Sicily and have a passing interest in writing or those who have lived on the island at some point, you have an excellent chance of learning more about them. Look out for the literary parks as they are known too – they tend to represent specific writers, such as the Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa Literary Park for example. For a man who wrote just one novel during his lifetime, it is quite an honour to have a park named after you.