Read Among Women Only by Cesare Pavese Free Online
Book Title: Among Women Only|
The author of the book: Cesare Pavese
Edition: Peter Owen Publishers
Date of issue: June 1st 1997
ISBN 13: 9780720610307
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 9.69 MB
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Had Cesare Pavese (1908-1950) not committed suicide, he undoubtedly would have been the greatest Italian novelist of the twentieth century. In his brief career, he wrote a number of outstanding novels and was a major factor in introducing American and British fiction to Italy, translating books by Dickens, Melville, Joyce, and Faulkner. He was arrested a number of times for anti-Fascist activities before the war. In 1950, unable to reconcile his literary life with the demands made upon him by society, he took his life. Among Women Only, published two years before Pavese's death, won Italy's highest literary honor, the Strega Prize. Considered to be one of the chief sources for post-war Italian realism, it captures the pervading melancholy and emptiness of a society caught up in decadence and hedonism. Clelia, a successful couturier, returns to her native Turin to supervise the opening of a salon in the city where she spent her youth in poverty. She is drawn into a circle of fashionable young people and a world of restaurants and casinos, artists' studios and parties. Amidst this crowd of people who are trying to escape the futility and boredom of their lives in a mindless search for pleasure, she meets the solitary figure of Rosetta, whose suicide at the end of the story tragically foreshadows Pavese's own.
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Read information about the authorPavese was born in a small town in which his father, an official, owned property. He attended school and later, university, in Turin. Denied an outlet for his creative powers by Fascist control of literature, Pavese translated many 20th-century U.S. writers in the 1930s and '40s: Sherwood Anderson, Gertrude Stein, John Steinbeck, John Dos Passos, Ernest Hemingway, and William Faulkner; a 19th-century writer who influenced him profoundly, Herman Melville (one of his first translations was of Moby Dick); and the Irish novelist James Joyce. He also published criticism, posthumously collected in La letteratura americana e altri saggi (1951; American Literature, Essays and Opinions, 1970). His work probably did more to foster the reading and appreciation of U.S. writers in Italy than that of any other single man.
A founder and, until his death, an editor of the publishing house of Einaudi, Pavese also edited the anti-Fascist review La Cultura. His work led to his arrest and imprisonment by the government in 1935, an experience later recalled in “Il carcere” (published in Prima che il gallo canti, 1949; in The Political Prisoner, 1955) and the novella Il compagno (1947; The Comrade, 1959). His first volume of lyric poetry, Lavorare stanca (1936; Hard Labour, 1976), followed his release from prison. An initial novella, Paesi tuoi (1941; The Harvesters, 1961), recalled, as many of his works do, the sacred places of childhood. Between 1943 and 1945 he lived with partisans of the anti-Fascist Resistance in the hills of Piedmont.
The bulk of Pavese's work, mostly short stories and novellas, appeared between the end of the war and his death. Partly through the influence of Melville, Pavese became preoccupied with myth, symbol, and archetype. One of his most striking books is Dialoghi con Leucò (1947; Dialogues with Leucò, 1965), poetically written conversations about the human condition. The novel considered his best, La luna e i falò (1950; The Moon and the Bonfires, 1950), is a bleak, yet compassionate story of a hero who tries to find himself by visiting the place in which he grew up. Several other works are notable, especially La bella estate (1949; in The Political Prisoner, 1955). Shortly after receiving the Strega Prize for it, Pavese committed suicide in his hotel room by taking an overdose of pills.
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