A Guide to Contemporary Italian Literature, from Futurism to Neorealism

A Guide to Contemporary Italian Literature, from Futurism to Neorealism

A Guide to Contemporary Italian Literature, from Futurism to Neorealism

A Guide to Contemporary Italian Literature, from Futurism to Neorealism

Synopsis

"Sergio Pacifici's Guide... must be described... as a milestone.... It is the only book of its kind in English, and tracing as it does the author's ever-widening interest in Italian literature, it can indeed serve as a guide to those readers who wish to give at least a measure of depth to their often incidental and casual acquaintance with the subject."- Books Abroad

Excerpt

Next to writing a book, the hardest assignment for a literary historian or a critic frequently turns out to be the preparation of a new introduction for a subsequent edition of his work. Presenting one's own intellectual labors in finished form for the first time is like celebrating the birth of a special child. But what can an author legitimately say when his book, like a child, has been around for some time, living its own special life? After all, once published a book becomes public property and there is little its maker can rightfully add to something which, if still valid, should speak for itself. the mere fact that this Guide is being reprinted seems to signify that the passing of time has not diminished its usefulness--and that calls for at least a modest celebration. It may be argued that perhaps this Guide should have been enlarged and brought up to date. I have resisted this temptation on three grounds: first, additions tend to alter the design and the balance of a book; second, the final volume of my History of the Modern Italian Novel, now in progress, will examine the fiction of a number of writers--including Gadda, Pizzuto, Lampedusa, Pavese and Bassani--who, for one reason or another, are not covered in this Guide; third, fortuitous circumstances do not make the case for a reassessment of the chief figures and trends discussed in this work very compelling. the novels Vasco Pratolini has brought out since 1962 add little, if anything, to his stature as a writer; Elio Vittorini's last published novel before his untimely death in 1966 was a revised version of Le donne di Messina; two of Italy's most distinguished poets, Salvatore Quasimodo and Giuseppe Ungaretti died (in 1968 and 1971 respectively) without producing anything that would alter my evaluations; and the same is true of Petroni, Ginzburg, Silone and others discussed in this book.

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