Monday, September 20, 2021



Carlo Levi, Christ Stopped at Eboli, tr. Frances Frenaye (New York: Time Incorporated, 1964), pp. 88-89:
The sight of me with my sister tapped one of their deepest feelings: that of blood relationship, which was all the more intense since they had so little attachment to either religion or the State. It was not that they venerated family relationship as a social, legal, or sentimental tie, but rather that they cherished an occult and sacred sense of communality. A unifying web, not only of family ties (a first cousin was often as close as a brother), but of the acquired and symbolic kinship called comparaggio, ran throughout the village. Those who pledged friendship to each other on the midsummer night of June 23 and thus became compari di San Giovanni were even closer than brothers; their choosing and the ritual initiation they went through made them members of the same blood group and within the group there was a sacred tie which forbade intermarriage. This fraternal tie, then, was the strongest there was among them.

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