Russo, Ferdinando 1866-1927

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RUSSO, Ferdinando 1866-1927

PERSONAL: Born November 25, 1866, in Naples, Italy; died January 30, 1927, in Naples; married.

CAREER: Poet, critic, and journalist. Wrote for newspapers, including Goad, Mattino, and Southern Italy.


Sunettiata, F. Casa (Naples, Italy), 1887.

'n Paraviso (poems), L. Pierro (Naples, Italy), 1891, reprinted as 'n Paraviso, Poemetto Dialettale, E. Marzano (Naples, Italy), 1931.

La Confessione; Lo Spadaccino; l tre Crisantemi: Scence della Mal-Vita, L. Pierro (Naples, Italy), 1901.

Rusario Sentimentale (poems), L. Pierro (Naples, Italy), 1902.

Montecassino: Poemetto in Terza Rime, V. Morano (Naples, Italy), 1905.

(With E. Serao) La Camorra: Origini, Usi, Costumi et riti dell'Annorata Soggietà, Bideri (Naples, Italy), 1907, reprinted, with an introduction by Angelo Cavallo, 1970.

"Piedigrotta" (poems and songs with music), L. Pierro (Naples, Italy), 1909.

Poesie Napoletane, F. Perrella (Naples, Italy), 1910.

Il Folle Amore: Tre Atti, L. Pierro (Naples, Italy), 1913.

Il Gran Cortese: Note Critche su la Poesia Napoletana del '600 (poetry history and criticism), Modernità (Rome, Italy), 1913.

Giovanni a Mare, Modernità (Rome, Italy), 1913.

I Ricordi del Fante di Picche, G. Giannini (Naples, Italy), 1918.

'O "Luciano" d' 'o Re (poetry), G. Giannini (Naples, Italy), 1918.

Il Tesoro della Regina, G. Giannini (Naples, Italy), 1919.

Luciella Catena. Due atti Napoletani, L. Pierro (Naples, Italy), 1920.

L'arte di Vincenzo Irolli, impressioni di Ferdinando Russo, Instituto Italiano d'Arte Grafiche (Bergamo, Italy), 1925.

Poesie/Ferdinando Russo, Tirrena (Naples, Italy), 1929.

'O Cantastorie. 'N Paraviso, Tierrena (Naples, Italy), 1930.

'A Paranza Scicca; Dramma in due atti, A. Guida (Naples, Italy), 1932.

'O Libbro d' 'o Turco; Cunto Antico, Bideri (Naples, Italy), 1963.

Petrusinella; 'A Storia 'e San Camillo, Bideri (Naples, Italy), 1964.

'O Surdato 'e Gaeta, Bideri (Naples, Italy), 1965.

Novelle Napoletane, Bideri (Naples, Italy), 1966.

Matenate e Villanelle, Bideri (Naples, Italy), 1966.

Sunettiati, Sunettiatella, n copp'o Marciappiede, introduction by Angelo Cavallo, Bideri (Naples, Italy), 1970.

Memorie di un Ladro, introduction by Paolo Ricci, Bideri (Naples, Italy), 1971.

Dizionarietto della Malavita Napoletana, Colonnese Editore (Naples, Italy), 1972.

Piccola Borhesia, preface by Giovanni Amedeo, Bideri (Naples, Italy), 1973.

Contributor to anthologies, including Sera d'Autunno: Un Atto, A. Guida (Naples, Italy), 1933, and 'O Cantastorie. Gano 'e Maganza, rinaldo, 'A Vittoria d'Orlando, 'E Riale 'e Francia, Bideri (Naples, Italy), 1964.

SIDELIGHTS: Ferdinando Russo began his career as a journalist working for the Italian newspapers Goad, Mattino, and Southern Italy. Russo wrote articles and essays focusing primarily on literature and writing. His writing was often controversial, which led to his firing from Mattino. Described in an article on the City University of New York Web site by dialect poet Dante Maffia as "passionate and exuberant," Russo also co-wrote a book about the Cammora, an association of criminals in Naples, called La Camorra: Origini, Usi, Costumi et riti dell'Annorata Soggietà.

Russo is primarily known for his poetry and his studies of Neapolitan poets of the seventeenth century. Although some of his contemporaries considered Russo to lack the true talent of a romantic poet, Maffia noted that "he remained the poet who, in his moments of grace, was able to create unforgettable pages, subtly ironic or 'chorally' knowing." Russo often drew from his experience as a journalist to write poems that focus on everyday life and on politics. Russo's poems or lyrics were sometimes set to music; and Maffia credited him with inventing the "macchietta," a short musical piece with humorous lyrics that had a double meaning, both literal and non-literal. The metaphorical meaning is often pornographic in nature. As for his poetry, Maffia noted that Russo was seen as "an attentive describer of the Neapolitan spirit, indulging here and there in pathos and sentimentality."



Reina, Luigi, Ferdinando Russo Popolarità, dialetto poesia, Ermanno Cassitto (Naples, Italy), 1983.


Italian Dialect Poetry, (July 25, 2002), Dante Maffia, "Ferdinando Russo," translated by Luigi Bonaffini.*