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The ‘Reverend Pilgrim’: Patrick Brydone in Sicily

A webinar with Joseph Farrell and Rosario Portale
Introduced by Katia Pizzi, Director, ICI London
On Webex
In collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute in London

Patrick Brydone was a Scottish traveller and author who in 1770 made a tour through Sicily and Malta, which resulted in the book A tour through Sicily and Malta, in a series of letters to William Beckford, Esq., of Somerly in Suffolk, first published in 1773, met with great acclaim, republished some twenty-seven times and translated into several European languages. A copy was in the baggage of every sophisticated traveller to Sicily, including Goethe. His letters cover every aspect of Sicilian life critically or appreciatively but always perceptively.

His sympathies were invariably with the ordinary people at a time when Sicily was ruled by the Neapolitan Bourbons, and wrote: ‘I own I feel most sincerely for the Sicilians who, I think, are possessed of many admirable qualities. But the spirit of every nation must infallibly sink under an oppressive and tyrannical government.’ He describes the ascent of Etna, and the five-day festivities for the feast of Saint Rosalia, patron saint of Palermo.

The book takes in the survival and transformation of Greek and Roman mythology, the manners and mores of Sicilians, religious architecture, climate, history, speculations on comets and meteors, the state of agriculture, social questions, religious themes, archaeological enquiry, descriptions of landscape and urban settings as well as systems of government.

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Password: Brydone24

Joseph Farrell is Professor Emeritus in Italian of the University of Strathclyde, Glagsow. He has written a lot on Italian theatre, has authored a book on Sicily, has edited a work on the mafia and has translated novels by the Sicilian writers, Leonardo Sciascia and Vincenzo Consolo. He is a frequent visitor to Sicily.

Rosario Portale is a Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Catania. He has worked extensively on English Romanticism, English Contemporary Theatre and Comparative Literature. He has curated the English translation of numerous works including Patrick Brydon’s Tour to Sicily and Malta.

  • Organizzato da: Italian Cultural Institute in London
  • In collaborazione con: Italian Cultural Institute in Edinburgh