A Reader's Guide to Fifty Modern European Poets

By John Pilling | Go to book overview

Salvatore Quasimodo (1901-68)

Born at Modica, Sicily; moved to Messina, where he studied engineering at the Technical Institute. Resident in Rome from 1919-26, where he studied at the Polytechnic and began to read the Greek and Roman lyric poets. Employed by the Ministry of Public Works in Reggio Calabria from 1926-9. Resident in Florence after 1929, where he met the novelist Elio Vittorini. Briefly visited Sardinia in 1934. Lived in Milan from 1934 onwards; left government service in 1938 and thereafter worked as an editorial secretary. His muchpraised translations of Greek lyrics into Italian appeared in 1940. A professor of Italian Literature in Milan from 1941. Imprisoned by the authorities for anti-Fascist activities during the Second World War. Suffered his first heart attack whilst visiting Russia; in hospital in Moscow for a considerable period. Visited Stockholm to receive the Nobel Prize for 1959. Honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Messina in 1960 and from Oxford in 1967. Travelled very widely throughout Europe after the award of the Nobel Prize. Died in Sicily after a succession of heart attacks.

Quasimodo was made internationally famous by the award of the 1959 Nobel Prize for Literature, the first Italian poet for fifty years to be thus honoured. Both inside and outside Italy, however, it was felt that Ungaretti (who was never to receive it) and Montale (the Nobel Laureate of 1975) had prior claims. The terms of the Nobel citation -- 'poetry which . . . expresses the tragic experience of life in our time' -- were interpreted as referring primarily to Quasimodo's attempt,

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A Reader's Guide to Fifty Modern European Poets
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 7
  • Preface 9
  • Charles Baudelaire (1821-67) 13
  • Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-98) 23
  • Paul Verlaine (1844-96) 32
  • Tristan Corbière (1845-75) 40
  • Arthur Rimbaud (1854-91) 47
  • Constantine Cavafy (1863-1933) 56
  • Stefan George (1868-1933) 64
  • Christian Morgenstern (1871-1914) 73
  • Paul Valéry (1871-1945) 80
  • Hugo Von Hofmannsthal (1874-1929) 88
  • Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) 97
  • Antonio Machado (1875-1939) 108
  • Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918) 118
  • Aleksandr Blok (1880-1921) 127
  • Juan Ramón Jiménez (1881-1958) 136
  • Umberto Saba (1883-1957) 143
  • Dino Campana (1885-1932) 150
  • Gottfried Benn (1886-1956) 158
  • Georg Trakl (1887-1914) 166
  • Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935) 173
  • Giuseppe Ungaretti (1888-1970) 181
  • Pierre Reverdy (1889-1960) 190
  • Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966) 197
  • Boris Pasternak (1890-1960) 206
  • Osip Mandelstam (1891-1938 215
  • César Vallejo (1892-1938) 225
  • Marina Tsvetaeva (1892-1941) 234
  • Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930) 243
  • Paul Éluard (1895-1952) 259
  • Eugenio Montale (1896-1981) 266
  • Federico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936) 276
  • Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) 284
  • Jorge Luis Borges (born 1899) 292
  • George Seferis (1900-71 ) 301
  • Salvatore Quasimodo (1901-68) 308
  • Lucio Piccolo (1901-69) 316
  • Attila József (1902-37) 324
  • Pablo Neruda (1904-73) 333
  • René Char (born 1907) 344
  • Cesare Pavese (1908-50) 351
  • Yannis Ritsos (born 1909) 360
  • Octavio Paz (born 1914) 368
  • Johannes Bobrowski (1917-65) 376
  • Paul Celan (1920-70) 383
  • Vasko Popa (born 1922) 392
  • Yves Bonnefoy (born 1923) 400
  • Yehuda Amichai (born 1924) 408
  • Zbigniew Herbert (born 1924) 416
  • Joseph Brodsky (born 1940) 424
  • Bibliographies 432
  • Index 461
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