Mafia in Italian literature

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

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First occurrences of the term “Mafia”

The first known mention of the term “Mafia” occurs in 1658: it is the nickname given to Catarina la Licatisa -- nomata ancor Maffia (also called Maffia) -- and occurs in a list of heretics. According to Henner Hess’s study of the etymology of the word, it means boldness, ambition and arrogance (1). Two hundred and fifty years later, the folklorist Giuseppe Pitré (1841-1916) would record the word again in Palermo, with the meaning of “superiority, self-confidence, consciousness of being a man” (Hess 1). Explaining further, Pitrè wrote that the

Mafia is neither a sect nor an association, …

2805 words

Citation: Eckert, Elgin. "Mafia in Italian literature". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 02 February 2017 [, accessed 30 May 2023.]

19473 Mafia in Italian literature 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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