5.07 Barboni 1878

Leopoldo Barboni, Sul Vesuvio. Ascensione tragicomica al cratere in eruzione (1878), Livorno 1892

E-NAP 10-4920 raro III

Leopoldo Barboni (1848-1921), a teacher of Italian literature and headmaster in several high schools in Tuscany and Sicily, was the author of a recreational anthology of Italian prose and poetry for schools and of some humorous children’s books. He devoted himself in particular to the descriptive and sketchy genre of historical, biographical and tourist themes. To this production belong the description of a trip to Maremma with Giuseppe Carducci and the stories dedicated to Vesuvius: Fra le fiamme del Vesuvio (‘Amidst the flames of Vesuvius’, Genoa, 1881), and Sul Vesuvio (‘About Vesuvius’), shown here. The latter is a “tragicomic” story, as stated in its title, which in 41 short chapters recounts the adventures of an improvised group that attempts a feat on the volcano as it erupts in 1878: “to climb to the crest of the crater […], leap down […], with the help of Saint Gennaro avoid the burning slag thrown out of the gorge of Vesuvius, light a cigar in the boiling lava […] and climb up again. And all this had to be done at night” (pp. 2-3). The story proceeds amidst comic anecdotes, clever gags and encounters with characteristic characters along the way, offering glimpses of everyday life and Vesuvian folklore to the Italian reading public. The text is accompanied by several illustrations by the Livorno-born painter Angiolo Tommasi. [ES]

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