The stories of Giovanni Verga (1840-1922) are wonderful evocations of ordinary Italian life, focusing in particular on his native Sicily. In an original and dynamic prose style, he portrays such eternal human themes as love, honour and adultery with rich and colourful language. The inspiration for Mascagni's opera, 'Cavalleria Rusticana' depicts a young man's triumphal return home from the army, spoilt when he learns that his beloved is engaged to another man. Verga's acute awareness of the hardships and aspirations of peasant life can be seen in stories such as 'Nedda', 'Picturesque Lives' and 'Black Bread', while others such as 'The Reverend' and 'Don Licciu Papa' show the dominance of the church and the law in the Sicilian communities he portrays so vividly.
Giovanni Verga (1840-1922) was born into a bourgeois family in Sicily and began writing historical romances as a teenager. His later fiction was more naturalistic and dramatic in style and dealt largely with Sicilian rural life. He was introduced to the English-speaking world in the translations of D. H. Lawrence and is now considered to be one of the major Italian nineteenth-century authors. Harry McWilliam has translated Boccaccio's DECAMERON for Penguin.