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

Ursula Fanning (Dublin City University)
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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 think that will be enough? [. . .] You’ll see, you’ll see [. . .] it will have to be rebuilt”] (p. 9). The title also pays homage to Zola (one of the…

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Citation: Fanning, Ursula. "Il ventre di Napoli". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 27 July 2010 [, accessed 04 December 2023.]

28440 Il ventre di Napoli 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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