The Galasso library leaves Naples

twelve o’clock, July 8, 2021 – 12:43 pm

The books go to the Lincei. The Municipality of Naples does not accept the request for Homeland History

of Giancristiano Desiderio

Lhe library of Giuseppe Galasso – the greatest historian of Naples in the twentieth century after Benedetto Croce – takes the road to Rome and arrives at the Accademia dei Lincei. Unfortunately, the bad film already seen with the immense library of Gerardo Marotta is repeated. Is it possible that Naples is such a stepmother that she not only devours her children but also refuses the fruits of their labor and their spiritual inheritances? Yes, unfortunately yes. In the Galasso case there is also an aggravating circumstance: Giuseppe Galasso author of the monumental History of the Kingdom of Naples (1266 – 1860), published in six volumes by Utet. Thus we arrive at the absurdity that the 45 thousand volumes already cataloged in the library of the historian of Naples go to Rome instead of staying in Naples. Incredible.

The news given to me with disappointment and suffering by Aurelio Musi, who was considered the main student of Galasso. While we have dinner in Benevento, in the shadow of the glorious Arco, together with the historian of philosophy Antonio Gisondi and with the former director of the State Archives of Benevento, Valeria Taddeo, Professor Musi, savoring the Livorno-style cod, tells the bad story with wealth of details: Of course – he says – not a natural event and there are responsibilities of the municipal administration and the mayor de Magistris. Professor Galasso, with whom everyone, including the city of Naples, is indebted for its culture and its nobility, would have liked his books to go to the Neapolitan Society of Homeland History, to which he was romantically linked. It seems truly incredible to me that the Municipality has not felt the duty to guarantee the very useful stay of the Galasso Library in Naples. The family hoped for it until the end, but then was forced to accept the Lincei’s proposal, precisely to save the cultural heritage and avoid a new ‘Marotta case’ with scattered and rambling books.

There seems to be a solution. it was the Neapolitan Society of Homeland History itself that suggested it. In fact, in the Maschio Angioino, where there is the headquarters of the Company, on the second floor, right in front of the entrance of the cultural association that dates back to the mid-nineteenth century, there are excellent premises that count almost 300 square meters and could accommodate the volumes . Renata De Lorenzo – says Musi, while I and the other diners hardly believe our ears – presides over the company and moves promptly forwarding the request for that apartment to the administration. But, unfortunately, the request was dropped on deaf ears. Put yourself in the shoes of Galasso’s heirs: what would you have done ?.

The only thing to do is not to mess up and understand if there is still a possibility, even if it were thin, very thin, to give Galasso what Galasso is: the recognition of the city of Naples by welcoming its library which, like his work, he cannot but continue to create history and historiography, if he is kindly disposed towards it. Here is the point: are you kindly disposed towards the history of Galasso and, I would say, towards the history of Naples? In these days, from Palazzo Fuga to Monte di Piet, we are discussing how to recover historic sites and what to do with them. Is it possible that the intimate need is not felt, even before the duty, to recognize in Naples the role of Giuseppe Galasso that Naples loved, studied and told so well? Between past and present – Galasso said to Francesco Durante, taking up the great Crocian lesson in the book-interview The Kingdom of Naples, published by Neri Pozza – there is a historical relationship, but between present and future what counts is our will to do certain things instead of others. We are conditioned by the past, but not determined by it. Here, if the Galasso library does not stay in Naples and goes to Rome, it is not a fatality, but a thoughtless choice of those who decide certain things instead of others.

July 8, 2021 | 12:43



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