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Rosemary Dinnage

21 July 1994
Intimate Letters: Leoš Janáček to Kamilá Stösslová 
edited and translated by John Tyrrell.
Faber, 397 pp., £25, January 1993, 0 571 14466 7
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Pirandello’s Love Letters to Marta Abba 
edited and translated by Benito Ortolani.
Princeton, 363 pp., £24.95, June 1994, 0 691 03499 0
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Significant Others: Creativity and Intimate Partnership 
edited by Whitney Chadwick and Isabelle de Courtivron.
Thames and Hudson, 256 pp., £14.95, June 1993, 9780500015667
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... Reading the passionate letters of Janácek and Pirandello, two elderly men writing to two much younger women, one is led to wonder whether relationships quite like this would be possible today – even assuming the telephone did not exist and letters were ...

Diary

John Lloyd: Report from Moscow

4 July 1996
... general should be. Lebed is now head of the Security Council, with a brief to implement the law and order he preached as essential on the stump. That should really show what he’s made of. If only LuigiPirandello could be exhumed, and made a Moscow correspondent for Repubblica. His discrimination between the real face and the mask is needed to replace the clumsinesses of journalism, constrained to ...
9 June 1994
Antonio Gramsci: Letters from Prison 
edited by Frank Rosengarten, translated by Raymond Rosenthal.
Columbia, 374 pp., £27.50, March 1994, 0 231 07558 8
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Antonio Gramsci: Pre-Prison Writings 
edited by Richard Bellamy, translated by Virginia Cox.
Cambridge, 350 pp., £40, January 1994, 0 521 41143 2
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... mind-boggling: in addition to the Notebooks he wrote 33 ‘quaderni’ and over two thousand pages of tightly-written reflections on everything from the Catholic Church, the Risorgimento and Croce to Pirandello and serialised novels. He had not been allowed to write anything other than letters until February 1929, over two years after his arrest. Many books and periodicals were withheld from him and he had ...
23 May 1985
Cavour 
by Denis Mack Smith.
Weidenfeld, 292 pp., £12.95, March 1985, 0 297 78512 5
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Cavour and Garibaldi 1860: A Study in Political Conflict 
by Denis Mack Smith.
Cambridge, 458 pp., £27.50, April 1985, 0 521 30356 7
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... By then Baron Ricasoli could say that the generation of heroes had been replaced by a ‘race of pygmies’. Mazzini called the unified state ‘a corpse’, and in one of his great pre-1914 novels Pirandello charted the awful fate of the generation which was compelled to live on: ‘the true hero always dies, with the moment; the man survives but goes wrong.’ ‘The blue-bottle flies of international ...

Like a Mullet in Love

James Wood: Homage to Verga

10 August 2000
Cavalleria Rusticana and Other Stories 
by Giovanni Verga, translated by G.H. McWilliam.
Penguin, 272 pp., £8.99, June 1999, 0 14 044741 5
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... from his peasants – they are as lean in spirit as everyone else in town, even if they aren’t so poor. In Italian, by contrast, Verga’s influence has been immense. His fellow Sicilian, Pirandello, learned from him how to write stories that seem to emanate from his characters; Visconti based his film La terra trema, in which the parts are played not by actors but by Sicilian villagers, on ...

After the Earthquake

Tim Parks: Silone and Silone

9 July 2009
Bitter Spring: A Life of Ignazio Silone 
by Stanislao Pugliese.
Farrar, Straus, 426 pp., $35, June 2009, 978 0 374 11348 3
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... there, however, he refuses to read a complex brief about developments in Russia and won’t submit unquestioningly to party orthodoxy. On his return to Pietrasecca, he meets a young Communist called Luigi Murica, who he had hoped would help him organise anti-Fascist resistance in the area. At last the novel takes on some urgency. Rather than one alter ego, Wine and Bread can be said to offer three ...

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