Matilde Serao: Il ventre di Napoli [The Belly of Naples]

(964 words)

Il ventre di Napoli [The Belly of Naples] is a collection of Serao’s nine articles on the state of Naples in the immediate aftermath of the cholera epidemic of September 1884. The articles were part of an impassioned debate on the epidemic (which claimed 6,852 lives) and on the government’s handling of it. The title of the collection is Serao’s direct response to Depretis’s (the then prime minister) famous statement, “Bisogna sventrare Napoli” [“We have to disembowel Naples”]. She mocks this idea: “Sventrare Napoli? Credete che basterà? [. . .] Vedrete, vedrete [. . .] bisogna rifare” [“Disembowel Naples? Do you t…

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Fanning, Ursula. "Il ventre di Napoli". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 27 July 2010
[, accessed 29 November 2015.]