La Venezia “australe” di Zaccaria Seriman

Autore: Gilberto Pizzamiglio
In: Venetiana. 22
Acquista PDF Acquista PDF Acquista PDF

In Viaggi di Enrico Wanton alle terre australi…, which appeared in two consecutive editions in 1749 and 1764, the Venetian writer Zaccaria Seriman proposes a type of satirical novel with a background of morality and education, which was rather new for the Italian public. He accomplishes this by replacing the typical adventurous and erotic topics of this literary “genre” in the late 17th century – most notably explored by the French – with a much more satirical-philosophical discourse of commitment and educational ambition modeled on Swift’s Gulliver. The essay traces the two parts of this imaginary journey in the Southern Lands. In the first part the protagonist Enrico gets to know and criticize the social and moral defects of a Kingdom of the Apes, which stands for mid-18th-century Venice. In the second part he then comes to praise the Kingdom of the wise Cinocefali (Dog-Headed Men), which clearly reflects the enlightened England of those same decades, in all its public and private aspects.