Biography of Vitaliano Brancati (1907-1954)

Narrator, essayist and Italian playwright, born in Pachino (in Siracusa, Sicily) in 1907 and died in Turin in 1954. From a few hesitant beginnings marked by glare caused by fascist mythology in his juvenile writings, evolved into a liberal and anti-conformist literature that asserted the universal rights of man and is served as a comical aspects to emphasize his political satires.

Moved from its infancy by a decided literary vocation school, Vitaliano Brancati young received the instruction to elementary and secondary school in his native island until, full of enthusiasm for their career prospects and the exultant effect of fascist propaganda, he abandoned his school of Catania settled in Rome, where he began to make a living with his early writings. Most of these, appeared in newspapers and magazines of the time, were truffled of a totalitarian ideology that, after a few years, plunged into a profound crisis of values to the still young Brancati, who had no choice but to renege, throughout his literary career, these first publications of their own.

By then, she had already given to the printing press also some dramatic texts of lesser importance which, however, preludiaban the subsequent success that would reap on the scene. In its narrative journey, he debuted in 1930 with a first romantic release entitled friend of Victor, a ruthless satire of that Sicilian bourgeoisie that so well knew by his own vital vicissitudes. Although with all defects attributable to a debut, in this extensive narration of Vitaliano Brancati already notes the presence of a theme that would be a constant throughout his prolific literary production: the desperate pursuit of happiness, in a hostile world in which it seems impossible to find it.

His youth flirtation with fascism were definitely back towards the middle of the 1930s, when, out of the crisis that had led him to question this ideology, Brancati gave to printing the novel Singolare avventura di viaggio (Singular Adventure trip, 1934), work which had two other thematic lines which, along with the one mentioned in the previous paragraph, they would constitute the keys of his literary success: the existential problems and the importance of erotic relations in humans. After the welcome given by critics and readers to this novel, the new Brancati returned to Catania and began teaching there, at the time that consolidated his literary activity by means of numerous articles published in the weekly bus, later collected in a volume under the title of I piaceri (pleasure, 1943). Periodistico-literarias collaborations, the Sicilian writer made gala of this radical nonconformism that would give sense to the rest of his work, present then in other collections of articles and essays as Ritorno alla censura (return to censorship, 1952), inspired by the ban, the Italian authorities released his best play, the governing (the housekeeper1952); and the liberal spirit is manifest in the published collections, posthumously, under the headings of Roman diary (1961) and Il borghese e l' immensità (the bourgeois and the vastness, 1973).

In 1938, Vitaliano Brancati published one of his most celebrated novels, Gli anni perduti (lost years), a scathing story in which the intensification of comic resources takes a universal symbolic scope that can be compared with the one of the best works of Gogol and Chejov. The success achieved by this narrative delivery was confirmed, a few years later, with the publication of another famous novel of Brancati, Don Giovanni in Sicilia (Don Juan in Sicily, 1941), a comic play, in farsesca key, now focused on the alleged exploits of the Tenorio in the Italian southern island. After three years, the writer of Pachino returned to the windows of bookstores with a new bestseller, Il bell'Antonio (the beautiful Antonio, 1944), a tragicomic approach to the thorny issue of sexual impotence. Soon after, came the turn of ridicule fascist thought, heavily lampooned by Vitaliano Brancati in the novel entitled Il vecchio with gli stivali (old boots, 1945), in which the comic ingredients charge macabre dyes. Subsequently, the Sicilian author undertook the drafting of another ambitious novel that, under the aegis of the analysis of social customs and moral values of the post-WWII Italy, intended to reflect the erotic obsessions of its protagonist. This work, entitled Paolo il caldo (the ardent Paul, 1955), was left unfinished due to the early death of Brancati (onset when three years still missing to reach the fifties). However, saw the light within one year of the disappearance of its author, and became the posthumous success of the acute Italian chronicler.

As expected, the ease of Vitaliano Brancati to arrive so directly how effective the average Italian reader allowed that some of their stories and plays serve as a basis to other film so many tapes of success. The most significant case was that of his extraordinary anti-fascist novel Il vecchio with gli stavili, which offered an excellent adaptation to the big screen the Italian director Luigi Zampa, under the title of difficult years.

In general, the rigorous censorship Italian mid-20th century was wroth with the work of the Sicilian writer, and very especially with their dramatic pieces. The biggest problem of this nature, as already indicated above, ensued her following the presentation of his best play, the governing, in which Brancati was still exploring their erotic obsessions to address the delicate issue of female homosexuality without prejudice.

JRF