Brought together for the first time in the recent Sicily and Scotland: Where Extremes Meet, edited by Graham Tulloch, Karen Agutter and Luciana d’Arcangeli (Troubadour, 2014), Sicily and Scotland prove to have some surprising similarities as well as predictable differences. Both once independent nations, they are now part of larger nation-states, but each retains a deep sense of independent cultural and political identity rooted in a distinctive history and language. Both are favoured destinations of tourists and travel writers – an attraction illustrated here by studies of Scottish travellers writing about Sicily. And both have been significant sources of emigration, their peoples moving far across the world towards very different experiences as settlers in their new nations.
This book focuses on these three major strands of comparison and contrast: literature and film, travel writing and emigration. It explores the work of some of each nation’s most famous writers (Sciascia, Lampedusa, Scott and Stevenson) and some well-known films by directors of the stature of Visconti, Tornatore, Forsyth and Loach. It considers the string of Scots who, before Sicily was discovered by tourists, made the long and unfamiliar journey there, culminating in Patrick Brydone’s Tour Through Sicily and Malta which proved to be immensely popular and went through many editions after its first appearance in 1773. Finally it provides a comparison of the experience of Sicilian and Scottish emigrants through a general survey of Scottish migration, a case-study of Sicilians in Australia, and one man’s personal account of the lives of his Sicilian and Scottish ancestors in America.