2019: XXI

Il pòvr òm! Gelindo

Silvia Corino Rovano
Università di Torino

Pubblicato 2019-11-20

Parole chiave

  • anthroponim,
  • theatre,
  • semantic degradation,


The character of Gelindo is enormously popular in Piedmont and the play of the same name was still being staged well into the twentieth century. Indeed, Umberto Eco himself mentioned his participation, as a child, in a performance of this dialect work. Gelindo, in the nativity play, is the shepherd with rough hat and short trousers (braje mutte, as M. Piccat reminds us) holding a lamb on his shoulders and indicating where Mary and Joseph can rest during the night. The play is bilingual and Gelindo speaks Piedmontese. The contrast between the formal Italian of Maria and Joseph and the expressive, realistic dialect has the effect of helping to make the character of Gelindo extremely lively and appealing. Gelindo is deeply rooted in popular culture and has his own independent onomastic story in the Piedmont region. He can be linked directly to texts such as A Ven Gilind, which evokes the return of Christmas or Gilind returns, which recounts the indecision of Gelindo who, about to leave for the Holy Land, continues to turn back under various pretexts (thus giving proof of a vacillating character). The name eventually became a nickname for a rough simpleton and, in a process of semantic degradation, for a violent husband.