Main character: Commissario Salvo Montalbano
Country of origin: Italy
Main location: Vigàta (imaginary town in Sicily)
Creator: Andrea Camilleri
Born in: Porto Empedocle, Sicily, Italy
Born on: September 6, 1929
Died in: Rome
Died on: July 17, 2019
Literary series started in: 1994 (La forma dell’acqua)
Original language: Italian, Sicilian dialect
Publisher: Sellerio (Palermo, Italy)
Number of books (original editions): 32
Latest title published in: 2019 (Il cuoco dell’Alcyon)
Translations: Translated in more than 100 languages
Television series started in: 1999
Producer: RAI, Italy
Number of seasons: 13
Latest season broadcast: 2019
Transnational distribution: Yes
Case study rationale:
In 1994, when Andrea Camilleri (who was then 69) published the first instalment of what was to become the most popular product of Italian seriality across the world, he was an experienced writer and television producer, with a particularly significant experience in the adaptation of crime fiction. Most notably, during the 1960s, he had served as executive producer at the Italian public broadcasting service (RAI). In this role he served as a supervisor of a couple of detective television series, including a most memorable adaptation of Simenon’s Maigret novels, with Gino Cervi in the leading role. Camilleri’s transcultural dialogue with the history of the European crime genre is quite obvious in the choice of his hero’s own name, a homage to the master of Iberian/Catalan detective fiction, Manuel Vázquez Montálban. The exceptional transnational success of Camilleri’s cycle on Montalbano, coupled with the author’s familiarity with the television medium, paved the way to a television adaptation that by 2019 had been running for 13 seasons, and is today widely recognized as the most important transnational phenomenon of Italian television of all times.
Online research resources
Luca Zingaretti as Inspector Montalbano deals with the migrant crisis in Vigáta in L’altro capo del filo, from Il commissario Montalbano, first broadcast February 11, 2019 [in Italian].
Opening titles of Le nuove inchieste del Commissario Maigret, a series that Camilleri supervised at the Italian public television (RAI) in 1966, in the role of executive producer. The song is ‘Un giorno dopo l’altro’, written and sung by Luigi Tenco [in Italian].
Andrea Camilleri about Manuel Vázquez Montalbán and Catalan identity [in Italian].
For more insights into Camilleri’s Sicilian-Italian inventive neo-language:
- Comune, Antonino. “La sicilianità di Camilleri: un surplus di identità”. Linguæ & Rivista di lingue e culture moderne, 12(1), 2013, pp. 27-34.
- Holt, Jennifer. Denouncement, engagement and dialect: the Sicilian mystery novels of Leonardo Sciascia and Andrea Camilleri. Rutgers University-Graduate School-New Brunswick, 2010.
- Mauri, Antonella. “Migranti ed immigrati: i nuovi stereotipi linguistici. Le definizioni dell’alterità nei romanzi polizieschi di Andrea Camilleri”. Paola Salerni, Jörg Senf (eds.), Textes et contextes de l’immigration / Textes und contexte der Migration, Paris, Hermann Editeurs, 2016, p. 127-148.
- Vizmuller-Zocco, Jana. “The Self as the Other in Andrea Camilleri’s Detective Fiction”. In: Calabrese, Filomena, (ed.). Diversity, Otherness, and Pluralism in Italian Literature, Cinema, Language, and Pedagogy, Toronto, Legas, 2009, pp. 173-186.
About the transcultural dialogue of the Commissario Montalbano series with the history of European crime fiction:
- Dvorák, Petr. Lo spazio nei romanzi e racconti polizieschi di Andrea Camilleri (Doctoral dissertation, Masarykova univerzita, Filozofická fakulta), 2012.
- Jurisic, Srecko. “Montalbano come Maigret riscritto. Osservazioni sulle fonti di Camilleri”. Cahiers d’études romanes. Revue du CAER, (25), 2012, 19-35.
- Quadruppani, Serge. Andrea Camilleri, la langue paternelle. Preface to La forme de l’eau, Paris, Fleuve Noir, 1998.
Creative audiences and Montalbano:
- Wall, Georgia. “Authority, sincerity, commitment: A comparative case study of narrative relationships in Italy in the era of digital media”. Between, 4(8), 2014.
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