Cesare Pavese

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Cesare Pavese
BirthplaceSanto Stefano Belbo
Italian poet, novelist, literary critic and translator

Pavese, Cesare

Pavese, Cesare (chāˈzärā pävĕˈsā), 1908–50, Italian novelist, poet, and translator. A major literary figure in postwar Italy, Pavese brought American influence to Italian literature through his translations. He himself was strongly influenced by Melville. Pavese's flight from the Fascists and subsequent imprisonment were reflected in his writings, which dealt with social struggle and revealed his sympathy for the oppressed. His major works include Il Compagno [the comrade] (1948), Tra Donne Sole (1948; tr. Among Women Only, 1953), and La luna e i falò (1950; tr. The Moon and the Bonfire, 1952). Pavese's recurrent theme in these novels is the search of urban man, who is caught in continually changing situations, for permanence and stability. In 1950, unhappy with both his personal life and the political climate of postwar Italy, he committed suicide.


See study by D. Thompson (1982).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Pavese, Cesare


Born Sept. 9, 1908, in Santo Stefano Belbo, Piedmont; died Aug. 27, 1950, in Turin. Italian writer. Member of the Italian Communist Party from 1945.

Pavese graduated from the University of Turin in 1930. He worked for the Einaudi publishing house and translated works by contemporary American writers. In the 1930’s he was exiled for his anti-Fascist views. Themes in Pavese’s early works, which included the verse collection Lavorare stanca (Work Is Tiring, 1936) and the novella Paesi tuoi (1941; English translation The Harvesters, 1962), are a tragic alienation and the rejection of reality. Contrasting motifs—an overcoming of hopelessness and the discovery of meaning in life—are found in the collection of novellas Prima che il gallo canti (Before the Cock Crows, 1949) and in the novella La luna e i falò (1950; English translation The Moon and the Bonfires, 1952; Russian translation in the journal Novyi mir, 1969, no. 12). The young hero of the novel Il compagno (1947; Russian translation, 1960; English translation The Comrade, 1961) becomes a Communist and a member of the underground.

Pavese’s diary, Il mestiere di vivere (1952; English translation The Burning Brand, 1961), was published posthumously, as were collections of his verse, short stories, and critical articles. His literary style and ideological quest influenced the young writers of postwar Italy.


Dialoghi con Leucò, 3rd ed. Turin, 1960.
In Russian translation:
Prekrasnoe leto. Moscow, 1974.


Breitburd, G. “Goden k peru.” Inostrannaia literatura, 1973, no. 7.
Venturi, G. Pavese. Florence [1970].
Gioanola, E. C. Pavese. Milan [1971].


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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