“Everything must change for everything to remain the same”: this is the famous quotation pronounced by Tancredi, Prince Fabrizio Salina’s beloved nephew in the renowned novel “The Leopard”, written by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa.
The story is set during the formation of the Kingdom of Italy: it displays and explores the outcomes of the unification of different regions into one whole country which has been under several foreign dominations for such a long time.
What’s interesting is that this novel deals with the decadence of a social class, the Sicilian aristocracy, and both the writer and the main character are from the upper noble class.
While Fabrizio Salina is an eyewitness of that decadence, the character of Tancredi is managing to adjust to the new circumstances by marrying the stunning Angelica, Calogero Sedara’s daughter, one of the main representatives of the bourgeoisie.
During a speech Don Fabrizio says that after all the dominations in Sicily, Sicilians have always adapted to change, but they have never really changed or developed. What is implied is that, despite the upcoming metamorphosis, nothing is destined to be renewed. In other words, in the pride of Sicilians’ roots, there would be also the inability to customize and remodel themselves.
This evergreen work is a great way to stimulate minds and to make you think about our times too, because the current society is the result of the past. I think every Sicilian should read this book to understand some nowadays’ features.
It hasn’t been a long time since this book was written, and neither is too far in time the period in which it is set; but yet it is true that everything has apparently changed.
We surely don’t have aristocracy anymore in Italy, apart from some families whose noble title has only a formal value. We now have technology and we can easily keep in touch with everyone around the world. Undoubtedly, Tomasi couldn’t predict it but still, is it true that everything has changed after all, or has everything stayed the same without us being aware of it?