Best Literature & Fiction in Italian in 2022

Literature & Fiction in Italian During the Second Half of the 20th Century

The second half of the 20th century in literature and fiction in Italian is marked by war. Authors like Italo Calvino, Carlo Levi, and Margaret Mazzantini all wrote during this period, which makes them ideal examples of 20th-century writers. The Second World War acted as a point of reference for the majority of 20th-century authors. The war marked a struggle of wills, with many writers running the risk of a life or death to break through the Fascist wall. Some writers suffered in concentration camps under Fascism, while others escaped.

Carlo Levi's novel

"Siamese," Carlo Levi's novel in Italian, was first published in 1947. It was inspired by the author's experience as a political prisoner. After his imprisonment, he was exiled to a rural, malaria-infested region of Italy called Lucania. In this region, he worked as a village doctor but was forbidden to practice medicine because of his political views. In this remote area, he learned about local superstitions, love spells, and natural cures.

When he returned to Italy, he became a senator and turned to literature. He also continued to exhibit paintings and contributed to major Italian publications. His work reflected his dissatisfaction with the life of Italians after the Liberation, a feeling that is echoed throughout many of Levi's works. His friendship with American translator William Weaver made the works of Levi known to a wider audience.

While working in Gagliano, Levi visited the village of Gagliano. He was shocked at the conditions in the town and he stayed with the family of the patient. He was unable to perform surgery on the man, but he was able to give him morphine to dull his pain. After helping the patient, he went outside to find privacy and rest. Eventually, the man recovered and Levi was able to save several other patients.

Despite the fact that his novel is set in southern Italy, the writer understood the frustration of the people in his hometown. In fact, Levi's title, "Christ Stopped at Eboli," reflects the dialect spoken in the village, which was isolated and surrounded by poverty. The story was later adapted into a film, and the movie is a masterpiece. Once you have read Christ Stopped at Eboli, you will understand why Levi chose this location.

Italo Calvino's Six Characters in Search of an Author

After a series of unsuccessful novels, Italo Calvino moved back to Italy in the late 1970s. In 1980, he published his second novel, Palomar, about a visionary search for knowledge. Called after the famous mountain Palomar in Southern California, Palomar is a novel about an onlooker who experiences life by thinking. While it may sound like a cliché, it is actually an extremely effective literary device.

Initially, Calvino wrote "tangible" stories rooted in 1940s Italy. But this became tiresome, and he struggled to synchronise his impulses with his surroundings. His world became a heaving, clumsy place. Eventually, his prose began to feel a lack of lightness and fluidity. He became an anti-Fascist despite his liberal upbringing.

Pirandello's writings, which were later published in book form, prefigured the Theater of the Absurd. Calvino's work also prefigured the Theater of the Absurd and the concept of social realism. The playwright's vision was to create a new culture and a socially inspired conception of the artist's active role in history.

Throughout the book, Calvino argues that language needs to move swiftly through complexity. He warns against the heaviness of language that can devalue its value. He also calls for imaginative examples, a meaningful mix of concepts and sounds, and exactitude that represents the nuances of thought. These are the elements of an excellent novel. If you're in the market for an excellent book, consider giving this one a try.

Margaret Mazzantini's novel

"Viola di Grado" is a critically acclaimed novel by Italian writer Margaret Mazzantini, who was born in Catania, Sicily, in 1937. The novel won the Premio Strega and the Premio Campiello. Her parents fled Europe during the Nazi occupation, and she was imprisoned in a Japanese concentration camp during World War II. Her childhood was spent in Palermo, Sicily, which she grew up in. This novel is a powerful examination of alienation and the difficulties of communicating with others.

As an Irish-born woman, Margaret Mazzantini lived in Dublin, but moved to Italy when she was a child. As a writer, she has represented her country abroad with Twice Born, a novel that was first published in Italian in 2008. The story follows two sisters as they navigate the political and social upheaval in the early 1990s ex-Jugoslavia.

While the novel is a romance, the characters are very realistic and relatable. Timoteo, an American writer, finds himself in love with Italia as well, despite not liking women and the idea of being gay. Constantino is also an abused woman and is not a good fit for Guido, who is a wealthy boy from a rich family. The novel follows the lives of both of them, and their children.

"Morning Sea" explores a complex subject - forced displacement. A young mother named Jamila, an ethnic Bedouin, escapes to Italy with her young son in hopes of a better future for her son. It is a moving and thought-provoking novel about forced migration and exile. It is well worth reading. The author's attention to detail and her ability to convey the raw human dilemma is admirable.

Gulliver's Travels

There are a variety of different translations of Gulliver's Travels. The Dutch version was published in January 1727, a few months after the English translation. It was the first edition to include illustrations, attributed to Frans van Bleyswyk, a Leiden engraver and illustrator of books. It is currently available in several languages, including German, Dutch, and Italian.

The continuation of Gulliver's Travels was not written by Swift, but rather plagiarized a French novel by Denis Vairasse, titled L'Histoire des Sevarambes (1677-79). However, the frontispiece seems to refer to the original work as the enormous horses and hawks recall Vairasse's work. The book was later translated into German, French, and Dutch.

Dante Alighieri's La divina commedia

Dante Alighieri's epic poem La Divina Commedia (The Divine Comedy) is widely considered one of the greatest works of literature in the world. It traces the journey of Dante's soul after death, and is divided into three sections: Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. The poem is also known as the most famous work of Italian literature.

The story begins with the character of Dante, a middle-aged man who has lost his way in a dark forest. This dark forest represents sin and prevents man from seeing the light of hope. Dante is having a mid-life crisis. In order to find his way back to God, he must travel the seven worlds, each level symbolizing a different aspect of God.

The name "Comedia" is derived from the Tuscan word for "comedy". The first printed edition of Comedia dates from 1472 and became known as the modern Italian term Commedia. Giovanni Boccaccio added the word "divina" to the title in the 15th century, referring to the high style and subject matter of the poem. In addition to Boccaccio, Dante's La Divina Comedia was published in Venice in 1555.

Dante's exile became a literary device, allowing him to explore the concept of heroic fulfillment. The poems' encounters with historical figures, like the renowned Roman poet Dante and his wife Beatrice, inspired followers of exaltation and identification. The Paradiso also represents Dante's enlightenment and culmination of the epic's intricate system of anticipation and retrospection.

Becky Watson

Commissioning Editor in Walker’s “6+” team. I work on books across the different children’s genres, including non-fiction, fiction, picture books, gift books and novelty titles. Happy to answer questions about children's publishing – as best I can – for those hoping to enter the industry!

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