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Leonardo Sciascia: The Man and the Writer


The celebration of the centenary of Leonardo Sciascia (1921-1989)

continues in Edinburgh with the launch of

Leonardo Sciascia: The Man and the Writer (2022)

by Joseph Farrell

Joseph Farrell will be in conversation with Davide Messina.

25 August 2022 | 18:00

Italian Institute of Culture, 82 Nicolson Street


Leonardo Sciascia remains best known outside Italy as novelist and writer of idiosyncratic detective stories which seek to uncover not only ‘whodunnit’ but why the crime was committed, novels in which he dissects the nature of the society in which such crimes occur and the conduct and values of the people who benefit by them. What are, he asks, the nature and uses of power, and what are the obstacles placed by the powerful in the way of unveiling truth? His fictional works range from his early The Day of the Owl to his final A Simple Tale. In addition, he was a prolific writer of articles and essays, who also produced non-fiction books in another genre which has no recognised name and which can be known only as an inchiesta (enquiry), a search into some event in past or contemporary society. Examples of such work are The Death of the Inquisitor or The Moro Case.

Underlying all his work is a moral quest for truth and a determination to uphold and establish this value, a fact which makes him particularly relevant and indeed essential in a ‘post-truth’ society. Deeply engrossed by contemporary politics and the conduct of political parties, Sciascia was also a man of profound culture, familiar with the literature not only of Italy but of France, Spain and, to a lesser extent, Britain. Sicilian by birth and culture, he took, as he said, ‘Sicily as a metaphor,’ which allowed him to extend his gaze into the morality, or immorality, of society and the use and misuse of power.

Joseph Farrell is Professor Emeritus of Italian at the University of Strathclyde and the author of several works, including an earlier monograph on Leonardo Sciascia, a biography of Dario Fo and Franca Rame, a Travelogue on Sicily and the biographical study Robert Louis Stevenson in Samoa. His most recent book is Honour and the Sword: The Culture of Duelling.

Davide Messina is Professor of Italian and Comparative Studies at the University of Edinburgh.

Leonardo Sciascia: The Man and the Writer (2022) is published by La Casa Editrice Leo S. Olschki

  • Organizzato da: Italian Institute of Culture in Edinburgh
  • In collaborazione con: Casa Editrice Leo S. Olschki