Switzerland Literature in Italian and Romansh


Quite modest compared to other Swiss literatures is the development of literature in Italian, which is too closely linked to the nearby Lombard culture. A distinguished figure of humanist is that of Francesco Cicereio, of Lugano (1521-1596), who taught Latin and Greek in Milan and left learned comments on the classics, from Euripides to Terentius. Tireless polygraph was Paganino Gaudenzi, from Poschiavo (1595-1648), a Protestant pastor, who later converted to Catholicism. The eighteenth century is dominated by the personalities of two Lugano residents, both belonging to the Congregation of the Somascans: Giampietro Riva (1696-1785), a frequent visitor to the haunts of Arcadia, called by Frugoni the “sublime Swiss swan” for his poems, not without their “swoon”, of a slender grace; and Francesco Soave (1743-1806), popularizer of sensism and teacher of Alessandro Manzoni. The constitution of the Ticino canton resulted in the detachment from Italian literature and the prevalence of provincial interests and political issues. The first Ticino cantor of Swiss democracy was Pietro Peri (1794-1869), who can be compared to Angelo Somazzi (1802-1892), celebrator of the San Gottardo tunnel, while Gian Battista Buzzi ( 1825-1896) and Alberto Pedrazzini (1852-1930). Authors of historical medieval novels were Antonio Caccia (1806-1875) and Daniele Marchioli (1818-1900), alongside whom Giovanni Maurizio (1815-1885), author of La Strìa,must be remembered . national drama of the Graubünden Bergell, still played outdoors in the valley festivals. The poet Rodolfo Mengotti (1828-1906) was also inspired by history, while lively chronicles of contemporary Ticino life are due to Giovanni Airoldi (1827-1894) and Alfredo Pioda (1848-1909). In the Grisons, the studies of Italian literature had an exceptional expert in Giovanni Andrea Scartazzini (1837-1901), one of the greatest “Danteists” of the nineteenth century. Politicians complete the picture of the nineteenth-century culture of Italian Switzerland, among which Stefano Franscini (1796-1857), passionate author of the Annals from Ticino, Romeo Manzoni (1847-1912), effective promoter of positivist philosophy, Brenno Bertoni (1860-1945), champion of Swiss nationalism, and Giuseppe Motta (1871-1940), tenacious defender of the Italian spirit of Ticino; and historians, such as Emilio Motta (1855-1920) and Eligio Pometta (1865-1950). Italian Switzerland rises from the provincialism of the nineteenth century, rediscovering the measure of art with Angelo Nessi (1873-1932), sensitive to the influence of the Lombard scapigliatura, with Giuseppe Zoppi (1896-1952), author of the Libro dell’Alpe, lyrical celebration of mountain solitudes, and above all with Francesco Chiesa (1871-1973), one of the most singular personalities not only of Ticino but of contemporary Italian fiction: poet, in Tempo di Marzo, of restless adolescence, Chiesa combines a romantic inspiration, of Manzoni and crepuscular ancestry, with austerely classical ways. One of the central motifs of Chiesa, the contemplation of nature, is taken up by the poet Valerio Abbondio (1891-1958), whose verses are traversed by an authentic religious anxiety, while the lyric by Giorgio Orelli (b.1921), refusing the traditional poetic discourse, is authoritatively placed in the context of postermetic poetry. Poets of great sensitivity are Plinio Martini (1923-1979), Angelo Casè (1936-2005) and Amleto Pedroli (b.1922). Refined prose writers are Piero Bianconi (1899-1984), Adolfo Jenni (1911-1997), Reto Roedel (1898-1991), Tarcisio Poma (1916-1995), Giovanni Bonalumi (1920-2001); and there are numerous storytellers, including Piero Scanziani (1908-1993),


According to Thesciencetutor, the use of Romansh as a written language begins towards the middle of the century. XVI and the first examples are found in religious, juridical and historiographic texts. Today we speak of three different written languages, Romansh of the Engadine or rumantschladin (v. Ladino), Romansh of the central Grisons or Sursilvan and that of the Anterior Rhine Valley or Sutsilvan. From the first authors such as Gian Travers (16th century), Jon Martini (17th century), who detach themselves from religious splendid some rimas romaunschas, tender and passionate song to the beauties of nature, a theme that is found with the same melancholy tone in Zaccharia Pallioppi (1820-1873) and in Gian Fadri Caderas (1830-1891). Alongside these must be remembered Simeon Caratsch (1826-1891), Giovannes Mathis (1824-1912), Andrea Bezzola (1840-1897), popular poets, evocators of the customs and festivals of the people of Engadine, to which scholars were added and authors such as Peider Lansel (1863-1942), born in Pisa, renovator of Romansh poetry, with works such as Primulas (1907), La cullana d’ambras (1912) and Versuins veglias e nouvas (1940), open no longer only to the pathetic theme of love for nature, but to national values, which Lansel also exalted with fiction and above all with non-fiction. His was an opening to realism that gathered around him authors such as Chasper Pult, Eduard Bezzola, Gian Gianetti Cloetta, realism that especially triumphed in his contemporary Schimun Vonmoos (1868-1940). The love for this language, although it has not produced works of international value, has nevertheless deepened, wherever it is spoken, very human themes of life. There are also examples of this in the theater of J. Semadeni, in which the themes of peasant life and the distracting temptations of city life are dealt with. The same themes also return in the authors of the Anterior Rhine valley, such as Gion Antoni Huonder (1824-1867) who with his The paur suveran (The sovereign peasant) produced a song about the free, hard but high-value life of the peasant and mountaineer. With Giachen Caspar Muoth (1844-1906) the poetry in sursilvan even reached epic tones that remained unsurpassed (Tiran VictorGion CaldarLas valeruesas femmas de Lumnezia). Gian Fontana (1897-1935) stands alongside him in the fiction with a subtle problematic on existential values. Alongside already established authors, in all three aspects of Romansh, at least Staafen Loringett and Curo Mani should be mentioned for the sutsilvan.

Switzerland Literature in Italian