Bassani, Giorgio

Bassani, Giorgio

(jôr`jō bäsä`nê), 1916–2000, Italian novelist. The recurrent background for his complex, analytic narratives about Jewish bourgeois life in Italy was the growth of fascism and anti-Semitism. A major theme is the dichotomy between the innocence of childhood and the cruelty of history, and he stresses the joy of imagination as the only outlet for the individual's alienated existence. Bassani's slow, elegiac prose constantly probes the secret roots and causes of events in psychological drives and urges. His most notable work, The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (1962, tr. 1965, repr. 1974; tr. 1977, repr. 1983, 1996), was made into a film in 1971. Other works that have been issued in English translation include the novellas in Five Stories of Ferrara (1956, tr. 1963; rev. ed. 1965, tr. 1971), the novel The Heron (1968, tr. 1986), and a verse collection Rolls Royce and Other Poems (pub. in English, 1982).

Bassani, Giorgio

 

Born Mar. 4, 1916, in Bologna. Italian writer.

Until 1943, Bassani studied and lived in Ferrara, which is connected with all his creative work. He fought in the ranks of the resistance. Bassani’s literary activity began in 1940 with the novella City on the Plain, written under the pseudonym of Giacomo Marchi. Bassani gained fame with his collection of neorealistic, antifascist stories entitled Five Stories of Ferrara (1956, awarded the Strega Literary Prize). The autobiographical and psychological novel The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (1962, awarded the Viareggio Literary Prize) is permeated with an antiracist spirit. In his novella Behind the Door (1964), the author returns to the years of his youth in Ferrara. Bassani has published a collection of articles entitled The Prepared Words and Other Articles About Literature (1966). He also writes film scenarios.

WORKS

Gli ultimi anni di Clelia Toti. Pisa, 1955.
Gli occhiali d’oro, 2nd ed. Turin, 1962.
L’airon. Milan, 1968.
In Russian translation:
“Memorial’naia doska.” In the collection Dolgii put’ vozvrashcheniia. Moscow, 1965.
“Noch’ 1943 goda.” In the collection Ital’ianskaia novella 20 v. Moscow, 1969.

REFERENCE

Marabini, C. “Bassani.” Nuova antologia, 1969, no. 2017.

G. D. BOGEMSKII

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