Europe since 1945: An Encyclopedia - Vol. 2

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Q

Quasimodo, Salvatore (1901-68)

Italian poet, translator, and critic; winner of the 1959 Nobel Prize in literature. Born in Modica, Sicily, Quasimodo entered engineering school but for lack of funds worked as a technical designer, store clerk, then civil engineer in the army. In 1930 he published three poems in the journal Solaria, through the aid of his brother-in-law, and published his first collection, Acque e terre (Waters and Lands). These simple, subtle fragments showed the symbolist influence of Giuseppe Ungaretti and the hermetic poets. Quasimodo published subjective, pessimistic poetry in Oboe sommerso (Submersed Oboe, 1932), Odore di eucalyptus, ed altri versi (Scent of eucalyptus, and other verses, 1933), Erato e Apollion (1935), Poesie (1938), and Ed è subito sera (And Suddenly It Is Evening, 1942). In 1939 he left engineering to become a drama critic; in 1941 he became a literature professor in Milan.

After the end of World II War and the fascist regime in Italy, Quasimodo adopted a more accessible, less personal voice in his collections Con il piede straniero sopra il cuore (With the Foreign Foot on the Heart, 1946), republished as Giorno dopo giorno (Day after Day, 1947); La vita non è sogno (Life Is Not a Dream, 1949); Il falso e vero verde (True and false green, 1954, 1956); La terra impareggiabile (The Incomparable Earth, 1958, 1962); and Dare e avere (To Give and to Have, 1966).

The Nobel Committee cited Quasimodo's social voice in awarding him the 1959 literature prize. With guilt and censure he confronted death under fascist rule, in battle, in extermination camps, and in nuclear war. Other lyrics pined with nostalgia for an ideal, lost land: his native Sicily with its Greek heritage. He saw Greek poetry as the keystone of Mediterranean culture; his Liricigreci (1940) updated Sappho and Alcaeus with a modern treatment. He later translated Homer, Virgil, Ovid, Catullus, Sophocles, Aeschylus, Euripides, Shakespeare, Molière, Ruskin, E.E. Cummings, Pablo Neruda, and the Gospel of John. Despite his leftist criticism of hermeticism as anachronistic for the new postwar age, he returned to neohermeticism with his later poems of love and personal tragedy.


BIBLIOGRAPHY
Quasimodo, Salvatore. Complete Poems. Introduced and tr. by Jack Bevan. New York: Schocken Books, 1984.
Salibra, Elena. Salvatore Quasimodo. Rome: Edizioni dell'Ateneo, 1985.
Salina Borello, Rosalma. Salvatore Quasimodo: Biografia per immagini. Cavallermaggiore, Italy: Gribaudo, 1995.

Mark Choate

Quasimodo, Salvatore

-1049-

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Europe since 1945: An Encyclopedia - Vol. 2
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • K 703
  • L 761
  • M 805
  • N 891
  • O 943
  • P 957
  • Q 1049
  • R 1051
  • S 1101
  • T 1231
  • U 1279
  • V 1333
  • W 1345
  • X 1379
  • Y 1381
  • Z 1395
  • Index 1405
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