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Daniela Marcheschi: “I have a living relationship with the rural world”

The Italian writer is a member of a countryside bourgeoisie family of Tuscany. She proudly lives in Lucca, a city immersed in the countryside

Daniela Marcheschi is a poet and a literary critic. She was born in Lucca, where she still lives, and taught in different Italian and foreign Universities, such as Uppsala and Salamanca. At the moment she teaches Anthropology, and in particular Anthropology of Arts, in Perugia and Florence.

She is a member of the editorial office of the poetry and philosophy journal “Kamen” and of the managing board of the “Carlo Collodi” Association.

She is the author of many essays on Italian and Scandinavian authors and of many studies on literary theory, translated in different languages.

She was the curator of the edition of the writings of Carlo Collodi (1995) and of Giuseppe Pontiggia (2004) for the prestigious series “Meridiani” of the Mondadori publishing house.

She received, among the others, the Rockefeller Award for Literature (Critic and Poetry) in 1996 and the Tolkningspris Prize of the Swedish Academy in 2006 for her activity in the context of critics and translation of the Swedish literature.

Dear Daniela, can you please talk us about your relationship with the rural world? You live in Tuscany, in Lucca, hence in a context that for sure doesn’t ignore the rurality, since it is in its Dna…
My relationship with the rural world is living. I live in a city where, standing on the city walls, it is possible to see the countryside, which is few minutes’ walk or bike far. Lucca is a city with a harmonic relation with its countryside. Here it is not present the scratch that toke place elsewhere. I kept a very close relationship with nature and this is the reason that brought me back to Lucca. That’s my passion for having long walks or long bike trips in the countryside, among the hills. The country is not just a scenario to me, like Arcadia...

That’s actually a closer relationship since you also have some rural properties…
Yes, that’s true. Mine is not just a formal relationship; I don’t live the country as an escape from the city life or as an idyll. It is also the relationship of someone that belongs to the local agricultural bourgeoisie and that still have the possibility to have some properties. The latter are an honor but also a source of spiritual and real richness. As a matter of fact, these properties are a solid connection with the past, which, in my case, is made of family ties and memories from many generations. Hence derives a stronger respect for the fields and the trees. We know who wanted some things and why, and what would mean to lose them.

It is a sign of the past, something to give to the future generations..
Yes, it is. It is a link with a memory of affections, a memory of people that lived and worked there and that used to see the reality in a certain way. It is something that concerns people that we remember which were able to transmit values of freedom and rectitude, and it is our duty to transmit such values to the new generations. This is a life example to safeguard and a concrete way to stay close to our ancestors.

by Luigi Caricato
01 march 2010, Food Notes > Miscellanea