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Pseudo-orality and the Skaz Narrative Technique in Andrea Camilleri’s Inspector Montalbano Series

Emilio Lomonaco


Emilio Lomonaco argues that the broad appeal of Camilleri’s narrative style arises to a large extent from the degree to which it resembles the Russian pseudo-oral type of narrative called skaz, which is a “verbal mask” whose fundamental characteristic is the deviation from the literary norm, and the adoption of the “language of the people”. Lomonaco shows that one of Camilleri’s specific trademarks is the lively third-person narration, typified by a clever fusion of Sicilian dialect and standard Italian into a humorous, ironic, hybrid language, which gives the narrator’s voice a vibrant and appealing tone. By concentrating on the openings of the novels where this narrative voice is dominant, Lomonaco contends that the voice of the narrator fluctuates between a humorous or ironic and a more serious tone, as if the voice of the author were taking over the voice of the narrator, and this is consistent with the skaz type of narration.

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Spunti e Ricerche. Rivista d'italianistica.
ISSN (Print): 0816-5432.
ISSN (Electronic): 2200-8942.