Author(s): Carlo Levi; Frances Frenaye (Translator)
"There should be a history of this Italy, a history outside the framework of time, confining itself to that which is changeless and eternal, in other words, a mythology. This Italy has gone its way in darkness and silence, like the earth, in a sequence of recurrent seasons and recurrent misadventures. Every outside influence has broken over it like a wave, without leaving a trace."So wrote Carlo Levi--doctor, painter, philosopher, and man of conscience--in describing the land and the people of Lucania, where he was banished in 1935, at the start of the Ethiopian war, because of his opposition to Fascism. In the south of Italy, Lucania was a barren land --a harsh white landscape largely stripped of trees--inhabited by peasants who lived the same lives their ancestors had, grimly coaxing a subsistence existence from the stony land and constantly fearing black magic and the near presence of death. In describing their lives and history, and in exploring their surroundings, Carlo Levi offered a starkly beautiful and deeply moving account of a place beyond hope and a people abandoned by history.