Year 12 | 21 January 2020 | TO ENTER | TO REGISTER

Ferdinando Camon: “The rural culture is dead”

An interview to the narrator which dedicated to the rural world most of his novels. Charles Péguy, French poet, defined the end of the rural culture as the most important fact of the world history after Jesus Christ

Camon wrote many books and gained in the last years the appreciation of many influential critics. His outset was warmly welcome by the famous Pier Paolo Pasolini. In his books the reader jumps in the rural world, among the clods, feeling the contact with the true life.
Among the others, his most interesting texts on the rural world are: Un’altare per la madre, Il quinto Stato, La vita eterna and Mai visti sole e luna.

You often set your novels in the rural world…
Yes, because I was born in that world, where I lived all the most important part of my life. When I begun writing, I was upset that all the Italian culture was centered on the factory world. The attention to the factory world was prevailing. Instead I wanted to catch the attention on my world, the rural one, because it was huge, deep and full of prodigious stories.

Why so little people wrote about the rural world in Italy?
This is because the farmer is immobile; not only in Italy, everywhere. Italy was waiting a revolution, a workers’ revolution, not a farmers’ one. All the same, in this immobility I can see many happenings, stories, faiths, sufferings and great behaviors that I describe in my books.

Is it possible that the rural world would become less immobile?
No, it isn’t. The rural world I describe is dead. The rural culture is dead. Nowadays the countryside is dominated by an industrial culture, the industry of land. There are big consortiums, big farms, big cooperative cellars, big deposits of tools and machines…. Charles Péguy, a great French poet, defined the end of the rural culture as the most important fact of the world history after Jesus Christ. I agree with that. This great event, made up of religiosity, hard working, morals, and of what, in general, we call rural culture, disappeared. Now there is the industry of land. The rural world is dead, and with it also God, a kind of family and of men, an idea of work, of saving, of hierarchy and of obedience are dead.
Now, the most poor farmers and dispossessed come in Italy from all over the world. But they will painfully ascend the social ladder and in fifty or one hundred years they will became middle class. In this path they will lose their God, their culture, their family and their system of values.

Hence, is there the risk not to come back anymore?
The history never comes back. It always goes on. When there is a problem, the first instinct is to come back and try to solve it, but it is not possible. It is necessary to go on, keeping in mind that history doesn’t solve the problems. The way in which history faces problems is to present other problems.

The radical change of the landscape seems to have been completely ignored by the former rural society. Why so little attention and awareness? Nowadays the land seems to draw the exploitation of resources and not an idea of land as a value to preserve and protect…
The preservation of the landscape is a city bourgeoisie dream. Leaving in an inhuman environment, composed by houses, buildings, asphalt, cars and concrete, the citizen dreams an intact landscape, where he can go the Sunday to restore. But the bourgeoisie citizen doesn’t work on the preservation of the countryside, but just hopes for this work to be done by other social classes, and by farmers in particular. As a matter of fact, also this latter class became bourgeoisie. He hopes for the land to produce more, he wants that the stables, the vineyards and the orchards would produce more. The countryside was made artificial in order to increase the production. Now the rural culture doesn’t exist anymore; it is now an industrial culture.

Hence is the return to countryside an aesthetic more than a real choice?
Yes, it is.

by Luigi Caricato
07 december 2009, Food Notes > Miscellanea