Carlo Cassola

Carlo Cassola was born in Rome in 1917 and spends most of his life in Volterra (Tuscany), hometown of his mother. He starts his literary activities in the 30s: between 1937 and 1940 he writes a series of short stories later collected in the volume “La Visita”. He lives for some years in Gorsseto, where he works as philosophy teacher, publishing many articles on “Il Mondo”, “Il Nuovo Corriere-La Gazzetta” and “Il Contemporaneo” in which he denounces the live and working conditions of the minors and the area of Maremma. He takes part to the Resistenza, and consequently releases “Baba” (1946), “Fausto e Anna” (1952), and “I vecchi compagni” (1953), all of the novels are about partisans and are set in a unique literary landscape, located between Volterra, Marina di Cecina, and Grosseto.

With the log story “Il taglio del bosco,” written between ’48 and ’49, but published in 1954, he steps away from the historical themes and his poetics gains a more intimate tone. Cassola develops his own poetics of the “subliminal realism” and identifies as his mentor Joyce and his “Dubliners”. In 1954 he works with Luciano Bianciardi on an investigative report from which, in 1956, will be inspired the book “I minatory della Maremma”.

With “Il Soldato”, Cassola wins the award “Premio Salento” (1958). In 1960 “La ragazza di Bube” is published, and will later receive the award “Premio Strega”.

Cassola’s production remains faithful to his close, minimalist poetic, intentionally ahistorical, and regular and constant in the following years. Example of this period are:” Un cuore arido” (1961), “Il cacciatore “(1964), “Tempi memorabilia” (1966),”Storia di Ada” (1967), “Ferrovia locale” (1968), “Una relazione” (1969). His vision of the world and his sources for inspiration later changed in the 70s, as shown in the novel “Paura e Tristezza” (1970), in which the writer distances himself from the “human comedy” and is oriented towards a form of narrative involved in the social cause, inspired by political and social issues. His next works “L’uomo e il cane” (1977) e “Il superstite” (1978), are examples of this evolution.

In his last years, Cassola is committed toward antimilitaristic and ecologist activities, always remaining outside official political groups. Compelled to be immobile because of a serious disease, the writer dies in 1987 in Montecarlo, close to Lucca.  

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