THE LEGEND OF ST JANUARIUS AND THE STORY OF TOMMASO MASANIELLO IN THE MIRACLE BY GUSTAW HERLING-GRUDZINSKI
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Gustaw Herling-Grudzinski's 'The Miracle' shows the Neapolitan celebrations of the feast day of St Januarius (Gennaro) after 1964, ie. when the cult was officially endorsed by the Church. In the story the character of St Januarius is created out of legend and history. The narrator notes some characteristic traits of the saint's cult and looks for their analogies in Polish religious life. His descriptions also include Naples' ethnological background, which is used to explain the roots of the popular rebellion of 1647. Finally, from a selective combination of historical facts he creates a portrait of Masaniella, the leader of the revolt. Herling-Grudzinski's schematic, psychologically hollow characterization makes the seventeenth-century Neapolitan revolutionary both a universal type and a figure open to interpretations in contexts not evoked by the story (eg. Poland's contemporary history).
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