2023: XXV

Da Vladimir Scerbanenko a Giorgio Scerbanenco: da Kiev a Milano passando per Boston

Silvia Corino Rovano
Università di Torino

Pubblicato 2023-10-05

Parole chiave

  • toponyms,
  • anthroponyms,
  • crime stories,
  • pop-onomastics,
  • Scerbanenco


Vladimir Scerbanenko, born in Kiev in 1911 and later known as Giorgio Scerbanenco, was a renowned figure in Italian crime literature. He adopted an Italian name in his pursuit to assimilate into the Italian culture and became a pioneer of Italian crime stories during the late 1960s. Throughout his life, he produced a substantial body of work, authoring numerous novels for various magazines and newspapers. In the early 1930s, Scerbanenko used several aliases, including Enko, as he contributed to a popular magazine column called Women’s Names. As a journalist and novelist, he employed different pen names such as Adrian, Luciano, Valentino, John Colemoore, Lodovico degli Orafi, Michele Raja, and Ugo Fontanaviva. During the 1940s, Scerbanenco wrote his initial crime novels set in Boston, USA, despite never having visited the city and relying solely on a map. He successfully crafted a crime landscape and introduced the character of Arthur Jelling, a reserved, kind, and introspective police archivist. This portrayal deviated from the expectations of Fascism but gained significant popularity. With the fall of censorship and the overthrow of the Fascist regime, Scerbanenco shifted the settings of his crime stories to Milan, his chosen city. He wrote numerous novels and stories centered there, and during the final phase of his career, he created the character of Duca Lamberti. Utilizing the precise toponymy of Milan, Scerbanenco constructed an expansive stage for his characters, delving into their names, homonyms within the same narrative, hypocoristics, and assonances.