Bassani, Giorgio

▪ 2001

      Italian writer and editor (b. March 4, 1916, Bologna, Italy—d. April 13, 2000, Rome, Italy), skillfully presented the plight of Jews of the Ferrara community in Fascist-era Italy in his award-winning 1962 novel Il giardino dei Finzi-Contini (The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, 1965). Wildly popular, the book was translated into several languages and made into a movie that won the 1971 Academy Award for best foreign film. Il giardino dei Finzi-Contini was not, however, Bassani's only claim to fame. He won Italy's Strega Prize in 1956 for his short-story collection Cinque storie ferraresi (Five Stories of Ferrara, 1971). While working as an editor at the Feltrinelli publishing company, he secured the manuscript for Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa's celebrated Il gattopardo (1958; The Leopard, 1960), a novel that other publishers had rejected because they thought the story was too old-fashioned. Besides his notable contributions to literature, Bassani also led an active public life. In 1955 he worked together with other Italian intellectuals to found Italia Nostra, an environmental protection and historic preservation society. From 1957 to 1967 he acted as vice president of RAI, the Italian national broadcasting network.

* * *

▪ Italian author
born March 4, 1916, Bologna, Italy
died April 13, 2000, Rome
 Italian author and editor noted for his novels and stories examining individual lives played out against the background of modern history. The author's Jewish heritage and the life of the Jewish community in Ferrara, where he lived most of his life, are among his recurrent themes.

      In 1938 Bassani was studying literature in Bologna when racial laws were passed in Italy that restricted the activities of Jews, including banning them from universities. Bassani, who had to publish his early works under a pseudonym (Giacomo Marchi), became involved in the antifascist movement in the early 1940s and was briefly arrested in 1943. After World War II he settled in Rome, where he continued his writing career. In addition to writing novels, poetry, screenplays, and essays, he also edited several literary journals, including Bottega Oscura.

      The collection Cinque storie ferraresi (1956; U.K. title, Prospect of Ferrara, U.S. title, Five Stories of Ferrara; reissued as Dentro le mura, 1973; “Inside the Wall”), five novellas that describe the growth of fascism and anti-Semitism, brought Bassani his first commercial success and the Strega Prize (offered annually for the best Italian literary work). The Ferrara setting recurs in Bassani's best-known book, the semiautobiographical Il giardino dei Finzi-Contini (1962; The Garden of the Finzi-Continis; film, 1971). The narrator of this work contrasts his own middle-class Jewish family with the aristocratic, decadent Finzi-Continis, also Jewish, whose sheltered lives end in annihilation by the Nazis.

      Bassani's later novels include L'airone (1968; The Heron), a portrait of a lonely Ferrarese landowner during a hunt. This novel received the Campiello Prize for best Italian prose work. Bassani also wrote L'odore del fieno (1972; The Smell of Hay). His collections of poetry include Rolls Royce and Other Poems (1982), which contains selections in English and Italian from earlier collections. Bassani's elegiac tone has frequently elicited comparison with those of Henry James and Marcel Proust, his acknowledged models.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • BASSANI, GIORGIO — (1916–2000), Italian writer. Bassani, who was born in Bologna, lived for many years in Ferrara and was active in the anti Fascist Resistance. After World War II he moved to Rome, but Ferrara, and especially its Jewish community, remained at the… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Bassani, Giorgio — (1916–2000)    Along with Primo Levi, Giorgio Bassani is probably the finest postwar writer produced by Italy’s small Jewish community. Born in Bologna in 1916, Bassani was raised in the Po Valley city of Ferrara, which provides the backdrop for… …   Historical Dictionary of modern Italy

  • Bassani, Giorgio — (1916 2000)    Italian writer. Born in Bologna, he lived in Ferrara until 1943, when he moved to Rome. He edited Bolteghe oscure, an international literary review, from 1948 to 1960. His Garden of the Finzi Continis depicts an aristocratic… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Bassani, Giorgio — ► (1916 2000) Novelista y poeta italiano. Obras: Cinco historias de Ferrara (1956), El jardín de los Finzi Contini (1962), Detrás de la puerta (1964) …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Bassani, Giorgio — (Bologna 1916 Roma 2000) scrittore, saggista e poeta; direttore di “Botteghe Oscure”. collab./opere: “Corrente” …   Dizionario biografico elementare del Novecento letterario italiano

  • Bassani — Bassani, Giorgio …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Giorgio Bassani — (* 4. März 1916 in Bologna; † 13. April 2000 in Rom) war ein italienischer Schriftsteller und Dichter. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 2 Werke 3 Ehrungen …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Giorgio Bassani — (Bolonia, 4 de marzo de 1916 Roma, 13 de abril de 2000), escritor judío italiano, famoso por sus Novelas de Ferrara. Biografía Hijo de Dora y del médico Enrico Bassani, hermano de Paolo y Jenny, Giorgio Bassani pasó su infancia en Ferrara. En… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Giorgio Bassani — Giorgio Bassani, romancier et poète italien né le 4 mars 1916 à Bologne, mort le 13 avril 2000 à Rome. Sommaire 1 Biographie 2 Principales œuvres …   Wikipédia en Français

  • BASSANI (G.) — Une ville: Ferrare, une époque: la fin des années trente, un milieu: la communauté israélite traquée par les lois raciales définissent d’emblée l’œuvre narrative de Giorgio Bassani. Le succès, mérité, d’un roman comme Le Jardin des Finzi Contini… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.