Part of an interview with Visiting Assistant Professor of Italian Mary Sisler appeared in the March 23 edition of La Repubblica.it, the online version of the well-known Italian newspaper. The interview focused on the likelihood that the famous Bronte sisters owe their last name to a small Sicilian town located at the foothills of Mt. Etna.
According to Bronte scholars, Patrick Brunty, the father of the three sisters, subtly changed his last name as a way to honor Admiral Horatio Nelson. Nelson was connected to this area of Sicily owing to a sizeable estate he had been awarded there as a gesture of gratitude by King Ferdinand I of Naples. Nelson was also awarded the title of Duke of Bronte and was known to have proudly signed all documents thereafter as “Nelson and Bronte.”
Sisler was visiting the Real Colleggio dei Capizzi in Bronte, Sicily, to research the events surrounding the peasant uprising of 1860 which served as the basis for the short story “Libertà” by Giovanni Verga and a film by Florestano Vancini.