Portrait of the Author as a Historian: Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

Witnessing the slow decline of his native Sicily, the last Prince of Lampedusa saw both blame and possible salvation in the island’s unique location and history, writes Alexander Lee.

Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa and his wife, Licy, 1940Whenever Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa thought of the Sicily of his youth, it was always of ‘nature’s Sicily’. Though he had been born into aristocratic privilege and could recall many great events – such as the assassination of Umberto I (July 29th, 1900) and a visit from the ex-Empress Eugénie of France – his earliest memories were coloured by the magic of the Sicilian landscape. Even in the last months of his life he, like the characters in ‘Lighea’ (1956-7), would close his eyes, and recall 

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