Jhumpa Lahiri and Marcello Fois on language and identity
The Italian language is in movement. It was consolidated with an important literary effort made by Alessandro Manzoni, considered the father of the Italian language, who amalgamated Italy into a unique language in his masterpiece The Betrothed. The audience at today's event at Palazzo San Sebastiano featured a transitive and fascinating movement of the Italian language that crossed borders and spilled overseas, reaching the shores of the United States.
Jhumpa Lahiri, the American author of Indian origin and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2009, witnessed the power of the fascination of the Italian language on her, declaring her love for the language during the event with Marcello Fois, one of the most translated Italian writers. Lahiri’s devotion for Italian evolved into the production of a brand new novel that is entirely composed in Italian, entitled Dove mi trovo and with its publication, a new Italian writer was born. The book was the result of a lengthy initiation process into the Italian language on the part of the author, which then progressed and became her main creative language, accompanying her through her narrative streams and flows. A book which essentially serves as testament to the transition of an English-born author into an Italian one.
Fois constantly pointed out that there is pure beauty in the terms that Lahiri had chosen to use in her book, that are unusual and forgotten in the current use but are somehow reinvigorated when reengaged with the purity of a language lover, exactly like Manzoni did in The Betrothed. A courageous use of the Italian language - just as it should be, according to Fois - in order to rediscover the strength of the Italian culture and language.
Here's an interview (in Italian) recorded after the event with Jhumpa Lahiri and one of our volunteers: