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Corsica Historical Fiction

Pasquale Paoli: forgotten Corsican revolutionary

Corte - Pasquale Paoli
Statue of Paoli in Corte, his heartland

This post is taking part in the Historical Writers Forum autumn blog hop, in which we each choose a historical figure and explain why we are drawn to him or her. I’ve chosen Pasquale Paoli, who led the Corsican republic from 1755 to 1769.

Paoli probably never considered himself a revolutionary. To him, the struggle to liberate the island of Corsica from its Genoese masters was a nation state’s legitimate bid for independence, and he regarded himself on a par with other heads of state. Today, he is much less well known outside Corsica than his compatriot Napoleon Bonaparte, and yet he was a towering figure of his era.

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Corsica

Of Mountains and Men: How Corsica’s Landscape Shaped its History

H
The Tavignanu Valley in Corsica’s central mountains

Corsica’s terrain is a feature that has had a significant influence on its history and culture. The island is one big mountain range that rises 2,706 metres from the sea at its highest point, Monte Cinto. These are comparatively young, jagged mountains, not yet rounded by erosion.

Categories
Corsica Historical Fiction

Women in Traditional Corsican Society

Corsican woman of a certain age.
Corsican woman, photo taken probably in the 1920s

Oppressed, subservient, insignificant? Does that accurately describe Corsican women in past times? Not always. That Corsica was a patriarchal society can’t be denied. But to portray the island’s women as downtrodden and overlooked is to over-simplify a complex situation.

A previous post explored marriage customs in Corsica. This time, I look specifically at the role of women, an important topic for my novel The Corsican Widow. My research has turned up some interesting contradictions.

Categories
Corsica Fiction Novels

Vendetta in Corsica: Myth and Reality

Olmeto - Colomba Carabelli plaque
Olmeto – Colomba Carabelli plaque

We’ve visited Corsica six times. L’Île de Beauté is a captivating place, with a savage beauty and a culture all its own and I strongly advise a visit. In 2014, we went to Olmeto, once the home of a woman who was the inspiration for Prosper Mérimée’s Colomba. His novel is about vendetta, an integral feature of Corsican history and culture.