A Sicilian, like Leonardo Sciascia and Luigi Pirandello, Verga was educated as a writer in Florence and Milan but drew on Sicily for the subject of his chief novels, plays, and short stories. In 1895 he returned permanently to Catania, his Sicilian birthplace, but by then he had already written his best novels of fictional realism (verismo): Malavoglia (The House by the Medlar Tree)Malavoglia (1881) and Mastro-don Gesualdo (Master don Gesualdo) (1889), the first dealing with a family of poor Sicilian fishermen, the second with the social climbing of a stonemason who has made a fortune. These classic works of realism established Verga as the father of the nineteenth-century Italian novel. In fact, D. H. Lawrence translated several of his novellas, calling him, "the greatest writer of Italian fiction since Manzoni."Of greater international fame has been Verga's novella Cavalleria Rusticana (Rustic Chivalry) (1880), which provided the libretto for Mascagni's famous opera.