Home > Other > THE NOVEL: “TWO SOULS IN THE SUN” – THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT

THE NOVEL: “TWO SOULS IN THE SUN” – THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT

Libya-map-1-Kindle

Giacomo Fatuzzo, then a Lieutenant in the Italian Army, wrote his novel “Two Souls in the Sun” in the late 1920s while he was posted at a remote fort in the African desert in the province of Tripolitania—an Italian possession soon to become part of the Italian colony of Libya. Giacomo called his book a novel and a “colonial romance,” but it is more than those words indicate. It is a story based on some of his actual experiences in the African desert. And in it he intentionally provides a contrast to the typical Italian colonial literature and attitudes of the time.

But the world of “Two Souls in the Sun” is very different from the fast-paced, interconnected one of today; and Giacomo’s story is heavily influenced by the culture and turmoil of that distant past. Therefore, this small window into that past is offered to introduce a place and time that no longer exist.

A LOOK AT EUROPEAN COLONIALISM AND THE “SCRAMBLE FOR AFRICA”

The decade of the 1890s was a period of rapid colonization of the African continent by Europeans. By 1900, in what became known as the “Scramble for Africa,” much of Africa had been colonized by the European powers of Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, and Portugal. Following the lead of these countries, Italy also had established a presence in Africa, colonizing first Eritrea and later what would become Italian Somaliland.

The main driving forces for this massive European acquisition of territories were commercial interests created by the demand for raw materials and new markets. However the driving force for Italian colonialism differed. It was motivated largely by the desire to enhance the glory and overall international prestige of Italy, rather than by the economic benefits that could be gained from colonies.

Whatever the actual reasons were, Europeans often justified their expansion of colonialism in Africa by claiming that they were bringing civilization to a continent which was backward, undeveloped, and barbaric. In general, Europeans of this time believed they possessed cultural and racial superiority over African societies that were primitive and natives who were childlike savages. The Africans and Africa described in Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” (published in 1899) are stereotypes of natives and native societies that reinforced these European attitudes of superiority.

However it also was common for European literature of the early 1900s to romanticize colonialism in Africa. The mostly Arabic community of northern Africa was portrayed as sensual, erotic, and cruel; but also weak. And popular novels represented Africa as a place of escape from the mundane and sometimes unpleasant reality of one’s native country. These stories created the perception of Africa as a land of adventure, a territory free from societal constrictions, and a place where man could find and be his true self.

But reality differed. The European “conquerors” were still vying for control and increased territory and power. Fighting with the natives was ongoing and often deadly, resulting in growing prejudice and racism. There wasn’t much that one could consider romantic.

Italy was no different than the rest of Europe with respect to prejudice and racism stemming from colonialism. The Italians’ new colonies in Africa had forced them for the first time to confront the existence of non-Europeans and non-whites within the Italian Empire. This led to Italians thinking of themselves as superior to the colonized African natives and Arabs and essentially establishing a racial hierarchy in which they, the Italians, (and other white Europeans) were at the top. Arabs and North Africans were somewhere in the middle, and black Africans were at the bottom. These views were commonly held by Italian colonists and soldiers in Africa, as well as Italian citizens at home, and they persisted for many years.

This is the history and the culture that surrounded Giacomo as he arrived in Italian Libya in 1924. And this is the setting for his novel “Two Soul in the Sun.”


 

“Two Souls in the Sun – A Twisted Love Story” is available for purchase from amazon: amzn.to/2sKfE6t

For more information about “Two Souls in the Sun” and other books published by Fatuzzo Books, visit our Web site: fatuzzobooks.com

Advertisements
Categories: Other Tags: ,
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: