Biography of Cesare Pavese (1908-1950)

Writer Italian, born in Santo Stefano Belbo on 9 September 1908 and died in Turin on August 27, 1950, which is considered one of the strongest exponents of the Italian literature of the 20th century. The intellectual activity of Cesare Pavese went beyond his literary vocation and also reached the cultivation of translation and editing work. His suicide at an early age and just two months after receiving the prestigious Strega Prize for his novel the beautiful summer, as well as the posthumous publication of his diaries and personal correspondence fed the legend about an author's complex character and unquestionable talent.

Pavese was born in Santo Stefano Belbo, a small town in the Piedmont, where his father, Eugenio Pavese, who was employed by the Court of Turin, had a House. It is the last of five brothers, but the top three had died during childbirth. His only sister, María, will have a very close relationship with him throughout life of both. Peasant childhood will mark to Pavese; the fields and hills of Santo Stefano will become the setting for the first games of the child Cesare, and the territory of childhood will be always identified with the rural areas of the small village in the author's later work. When Pavese has six years, his father dies as a result of a brain tumor, and the child's life is influenced by the paternal absence and the omnipresence of the mother Consolina Mesturini, a woman of strong character which takes with hand sign the reins of the House. Cesare it takes refuge in itself, and as it grows also makes it reading, to which his father had been a big fan.

The family moved to Turin to spend the school season. Pavese is enrolled in the elementary school, Trombetta, where will be the Social Institute of the Jesuits and the modern gym. In the city, Pavese is a scenario that nothing has to do with the Piedmont countryside, and becomes a lonely boy who walks without a break through the streets and squares of Turin, as if to grasp the city and put a dent in it. His health is pretty bad: suffers frequent colds and respiratory problems that will accompany you always. You spend much time reading and working real hard in the modern gym, where started his studies and that will be his great friend, Mario Sturani. To address many of the letters that make up the volume of his personal correspondence. After school, he/she moved to spend the summer in the countryside, where meets early childhood places.

In 1923, with fifteen years, Pavese joined the Liceo Massimo D´Azzeglio to finish his higher education. There is Professor Augusto Monti, author of the trilogy I Sanssossi, with whom Pavese locking friendship. Monti will be a constant intellectual stimulus for the youngster, he/she encouraged in his readings and his fledgling literary. Despite her shyness, which does not help to overcome a weak health, in the Liceo makes new friends: Tullio Pinelli, Carlo Predella or Remo Giacchero will be part of his closest circle. Read on, and is now when he/she discovers the mythology, and the Greek classics.

In 1926 he/she ends his studies in the Lycée and that summer starts their extensive correspondence. In the autumn of the same year it is registered in the Faculty of Arts of the University of Turin. There will be known to a number of characters that will make your life: the philosopher Norberto Bobbio, the musicologist Massimo Mila and the writer Leone Ginzburg. In the month of December, 1926 it has made the suicide of Elico Baraldi, school-fellow of Pavese, place that will deeply impress the author. The readings are multiplied in college. He/She is especially interested in realistic American and British authors and made a sensational discovery: the novel Moby Dick by Herman Melville, which read in English by absence of any Italian translation. Lee fascinated to Dos Passos, Hemingway, Sherwood Anderson, Faulkner, virtually unknown in Italy, and who developed a model of character that is portrayed by their actions.

This is also the time of the first sentimental setbacks. Pavese has experienced two failed love affairs, one with a companion of studies and the other with a music hall dancer. The two relations leave, however, a bitter posed in the author, who begins to become obsessed with the idea of the sentimental disappointment. Then comes another dancer, name Milly, that Pavese waiting for hours and in the rain at the gates of the theatre, where he/she acted, as the girl fled through another door. His awareness of the sentimental failure deepens.

Continue reading so febrile, it affects your letters and his poems, but these are also years of an intense political turmoil. The anti-fascist movement Giustizia e Libertà, promoted by a group of exiled Italian intellectuals in France was founded in Paris in 1929 and which include among other Raffaele Rosetti, Emilio Lussu, Fausto Nitti and Alberto Cianca. In a clandestine sheet published in Rome in November 1929, the members of the group claim to be "Republicans, Socialists and Democrats" and claim to fight "for equality, justice and freedom". The Group of friends of Pavese, spurred on by Professor Monti, adheres to the anti-fascist struggle. Cesare participates in its meetings, but always from a background: when discussions acaloran, pretending to read and get away from the conversation. In 1930, Pavese obtained his Bachelor's degree and began to collaborate in the magazine culture. There, he/she published his first works, which will be later edited by Einaudi under the title American literature and other essays. That same year from the Italian central Committee leaders are arrested in Milan Giustizia e Libertà.

The death of his mother Consolina, makes that Pavese moved to live in the House of his sister María, who is married and has two daughters. It is also at this time when it appears in your life a mysterious woman whose name we do not know. Pavese refers to it as "T", and sometimes as "the woman's hoarse voice" or "Miss". Apparently, it was a young student of mathematics, Member active in the Communist Party, whom the writer falls in love madly. In 1931, Pavese publishes the translation of Our Mr. Wren, Sinclair Lewis, followed by later of Moby Dick, Herman Melville; Dark laughter, of Sherwood Anderson; Portrait of an artist as young men, James Joyce, and The 42nd. Parallel, by two John Passos, among others. It is recognized as an expert in American literature, especially after his brilliant doctoral thesis on the work of Walt Whitman, which gets the best marks. However, despite this is denied a post of Assistant in the Faculty of Arts of Turin, and also a scholarship at Columbia University. Pavese survives thanks to his collaborations and his work as a substitute in a night school. Leisure dedicated it to write the first verses of the volume Lavorare Stanca (work tires).

In 1932, maybe that family pressures or also for convenience, enrolling in the Fascio. In 1933, the publishing house Einaudi settles in Turin and the own Guilio Einaudi asks Pavese to work with them. His work in Einaudi starts to put him in the crosshairs of the fascist police. In March 1934, and following the arrest of Leone Ginzburg (which had organized a clandestine group Giustizia e Libertà in Turin) Pavese exerts maximum responsible of the publication La culture, which increases their contact with groups of left-wing intellectuals. However, there is a clear political commitment by the author, who directs the magazine until January 1935. In May of the same year, an unexpected event will give a twist to the life of Pavese: a great RAID of anti-fascist intellectuals dissociates with the arrest of a hundred people, including Giulio Einaudi, Vittorio Foà, Carlo Levi and the own Cesare Pavese. The indirect cause of this decision has been "the woman's hoarse voice", condemns the love of Pavese, who at one point asked the author to serve link between it and a former love, Altiero Spinelli, leader of the Italian Communist Party, which meets in a Roman prison. When the police register Pavese House find Spinelli letters, so the author is imprisoned. Happens a few days in a Dungeon of Turin, and from there was transferred to Rome, to the Regina Coeli prison. From there it writes missives hopeless to her sister María, in which speaks of the difficult conditions of life in prison and his bad luck: "the more I think of my situation, more convinced I am that Earth is a valley of tears" (June 8, 1935). In other letters, Pavese denies any implication of political "nor even enough that persons of irreproachable conduct as Pinelli and Chabod recognized my good faith and my total lack of interest in any political heresy" (5 July 1935).

Finally, on August 5, 1935, Pavese is condemned to confine themselves in the Calabrian town of Brancaleone. The conditions of exile are harsh: live very poorly, isolated from his friends and his family, and their health problems are running high. Locked up in itself, Pavese spends her time writing letters marked by bitterness and pessimism, and also begins the drafting of his diaries, to be published after his death under the title Il mestiere di vivere (the Office Live). In his writings appears the idea of suicide, as in the letter addressed to Eugenio Monti: "We will see on my return, it will be within three years, unless some morning hand to escape me by making me the tie". In his letters he/she also makes frequent allusions to "T", "Miss", "The woman's hoarse voice," who continues to love. During these months it begins to take shape the story Il Carcere, where the protagonist is precisely the idea of the confinement. At the beginning of 1936, his book of poetry appears Lavorare Stanca (work tires), published by Solaria, and in March of that same year get pardoned thanks to their health problems.

To reach the station of Turin receives the fatal news that "The woman's hoarse voice" has married another man. Cesare Pavese falls into a deep depression, spends entire days without leaving his room in the home of her sister, refusing even to eat. Then he/she writes in his diary "go to exile is nothing. Back of beyond is appalling", and also some phrases that reflect your misogyny:"a woman who is not a stupid is, sooner or later, a healthy man and reduces it to a waste". The fact that his poetry collection has passed rather unnoticed to the criticism does not help improve your mood. Slowly returns to work, translate texts of Dos Passos Defoe and Gertrude Stein. In 1938 he/she accepts the proposal of Einaudi to return to work in the editorial, and the following year write what will be your first novel, Paesi Tuoi (of land), a hard rural drama where they are perceived influences of Faulkner. In 1940, he/she began a relationship with Fernanda Pivano, an old student of hers that will keep an Idyll of five years. Pavese asks the girl to get married with him, but Fernanda just breaking the relationship and marrying another. This new failure sentimental emphasizes physical complexes of the author and his idea of being doomed to loneliness and rejection. In 1941, Einaudi published Paesi Tuoi, which obtained considerable success. That same year he/she wrote La Spiaggia (the beach), to be published by the publishing house Lettere d'Oggi. But the war again trastocará Pavese plans and his own.

The writer moved to Rome in 1943 with the purpose of directing Einaudi, but is called up. Your breathing problems, however, make it a useless for the army. Returns to Rome for a few months, but shortly after the overthrow of Mussolini returned to Turin. For days he/she works ignoring bombings that shake the city, while almost all of his friends have joined the resistance. He/She is incapable of acting and a commitment to clear way. In December dies of a contributor to the editorial, Giaime Pintor, author of a shocking text on the position of the intellectual in times of conflict: "At one point, intellectuals must be able to transfer their experience to the field of the common utility and each must take his place in a combat organization"; but Pavese never wonder what is that position. In the month of September 1943, when bombs destroyed the headquarters of Einaudi, moved to the village of Serralunga di Crea with the family of his sister.

While peers are facing fascism, Pavese teaches in a school and writes fair d´Agosto (August holidays), at the time that begins to take notes for his work Dialoghi with Leuco (dialogues with Leuco). The book, to be published in 1947, is a review of the idea pavesiana of myth, which he/she defined as "what happens countless times in the universe and, however, is the only event out of time". It consists of a total of 26 dialogues whose main characters are gods from Greek mythology. Leuco is a deformation of the of the Greek goddess Leucothea, which helps Ulysses on his encounter with Poseidon.

In 1944 and as Pavese work in his writings, get you news of the death of Leone Ginzburg, tortured by the Germans in a Roman prison. Pavese raises his stance, his inability to political action, your fear to act, that leads to a deep contempt towards itself reflected in the story la casa in collina (Hill House). The protagonist seeks refuge in the mountains, and is close to a resistance group that never comes to integrate, while thinking "I'm at a point in which the be live by chance, when others better than I have died, I am not satisfied and I don't like it".

In 1945, when it ends the war, he/she returned to Turin. That same year he/she joined the Italian Communist Party. The reasons for this decision must be sought not only in the memory of dead friends: Pavese understands communism as a way to rebuild a country devastated from the promotion of education and culture; Meanwhile, his success as an author grows in unstoppable form. In 1946 he/she works with Bianca Garufi (with whom he/she had a brief affair) in the drafting of Grande Fuoco (fire big), will be published posthumously. In the same year publishes fair d´agosto, where the author returns to the mythical world of childhood. It is followed in 1947 Il compagno (the comrade), Dialoghi Leuco and the terra e morte (the Earth and death). The applause of critics is unanimous, and the public responds very favorably to the work of an already quite devoted Pavese.

In 1948 appears before the Rooster sing and finally, in 1949, is published in a volume three stories of extraordinary importance: Il diavolo sulle coline (the devil in the hills), Tra done sole (single women) and the beautiful estate (El bello verano). These three texts somehow marked the climax of the work pavesiana. Although it is independent novels, the three share a number of characteristics: a same moral atmosphere, an oppressive atmosphere, a feeling of desolate loneliness that makes his characters doomed to fail personal and existential beings. In the first of the novels, three students spend summer days in the House of the Hill, and days cross in an atmosphere of collective cynicism where redemption seems impossible. The next novel, Tre done sole, it has a common element to the beautiful estate, and is the condition of urban novel. In this text, which, as he/she confesses Pavese in his diary, wrote with extraordinary ease, the characters are marked by loneliness, confusion and lack of love. A developer event appears on the last page of this work: the suicide of Rosetta, one of the protagonists, which trapped in his own life decides to flee towards death. This scenario is no accident for the author: Rosetta is removed the life in a room. In the beautiful estate, Pavese regains the Turin venues. The failed search for true love is one of the major themes of this novel, as also the character of Ginia, a 17 year old girl as it progresses the story looks like your innocence and your illusion is particularly symbolic of fading, won by the decline of the environment and the people who surround it.

In January 1950, Cesare Pavese start a relationship that will be his last great love, and also his last great adventure frustrated: American actress Constance Dawling, who travels to Italy to work on a flourishing film industry fueled by the names of Rossellini, Zavattini , and Vittorio de Sica. Pavese will hang on to the actress as to its last chance to feel loved and wanted. But his excitement is not shared, and in April of the same year Constance returned to United States ending their love affair with the writer. Pavese falls down in despair. Publishes La luna e i falò (the Moon and the bonfires), which portrays the return to the stage of childhood, and in July received the prestigious Strega literary award for the beautiful estate, but even the public recognition of his literary talent serves to mitigate the acute depression which suffers.

The writings of his diary are increasingly dark and hopeless. In August lives a romance with another girl, name Pierina, but the relationship nor seems to have overtones of come to fruition. Cesare sinks in their sense of personal failure, and write the last sentence in his diary: "words enough. A gesture. Do not write more". On August 27, 1950, Cesare Pavese is located in a room in the Hotel Rome, Carlo Felice square opposite the railway station of Turin. From his room performs four phone calls to other so many women to ask for an appointment but the four refuse. One of them is his friend Fernando Pivano, which explains that not to leave her husband ill, another is Pierina and another a waitress who replied in rugged tone. Cesare Pavese then puts an end to his life with an overdose of sleeping pills. On the bedside table has left a copy of Dialoghi with Leuco, in whose pages has written a few lines of farewell: "I forgive everyone and all ask for forgiveness. Not chismorreen too".

After the death of Césare Pavese, the publishing house Einaudi brought to light his diaries under the title Il mestiere di vivere, as well as much of their private correspondence. Also published a series of unpublished poems titled Verra morte e avrà i tuoi occhi (death come and will have your eyes), and the book Notte di festa (party night). On the occasion of the centenary of his birth, the Spanish publishing house Lumen edited among single women, and American literature and other essays.


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