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 Loser's Guide to Life

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Lo Smemorato di Collegno 

Sometimes called “Il Caso Bruneri-Canella”, it's the actual historical incident of an amnesiac (supposedly) finding an identity, the stuff of a billion stories and films. Well, this one, anyway. [Note to self: Google, Google, Google!!]

A professor Giulio Canella, a captain in the Italian army during WWI, saw action in Macedonia, possibly wounded, and later listed as missing. His wife awaits his return. Eleven years later an amnesiac turns up. “Do You Know This Man?” the newspapers ask, publishing his photograph. Canella's wife sees him, meets hims a couple of times, becomes convinced he's her lost husband and welcomes him home.

However, he's actually not the guy, but some typographer called Bruneri who already had a history as a fraudster. He and Mrs Canella insist, nevertheless, that he is the guy. He grows a beard and studies philosophy to become more professorial. The country is in an uproar rivalling that of France's Dreyfus affair. One speaks of nothing else, friendships are shattered, people nervously look around whenever the subject comes up at dinner parties.

Despite long trials and ample proof to the contrary, the couple continue to affirm, to the end of their days, that Bruneri is the lost Canella.

Most likely the actual Canella is wandering around confused, poor and unrecognized to this day.

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