Title: American Literature; Essays and Opinions
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication Date: 1970
Book Condition: Very Good
Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good
219 pages, a very good copy in dustjacket, hardbound. Bookseller Inventory # 032853
Cesare Pavese (1908-1950) was the leading Italian scholar of American literature of the generation that came to maturity under Mussolini. He was not only an acute and wide-ranging literary critic, but also a sensitive poet and novelist. In addition, he was a prodigious translator. In collaboration with Elio Vittorini, he translated and brought to the attention of the Italian public the works of many important American writers. American literature helped to give direction to Pavese's creative work and was a resource for his personal literary campaign against Fascism.
Pavese was a non-academic critic, though far less anti - academic than D. H. Lawrence. His first purpose was to use American literature to subvert Italian literature, but beyond that there were a number of issues on which he disagreed with standard American criticism. When he does, his wild, original energy of discovery can trigger a welcome change of focus for our views of American writing.
Pavese never visited or lived in America; it was for him a foreign country, although a shifting and sliding special case. He had no stake in its sectional chauvinisms. He had a vital stake in its whole literature because, as his communications to Vittorini make clear, he had a stake in the literature of the whole world. For a while, America seemed to him the probable center of that whole. This was the center where things were happening in the world of the mind, and where the future was being born and licked into shape. Paveses's writings about American literature still offer original and unsparing insights.
About the Author:
Cesare Pavese (1908-1950), was educated in Turin. In 1930 he began to contribute essays on American literature to La Cultura, of which he later became editor. In 1935 he was imprisoned for anti-fascist activities. This experience formed the basis of The Political Prisoner. Between 1936 and 1940 nine of his books were published in Italy, these included novels, short stories, poetry, and essays. His books have been filmed and dramatized, and translated into many languages.
Edwin Fussell was professor emeritus of American Literature at the University of California, San Diego. Some of his books include Edwin Arlington Robinson, Frontier: American Literature and the American West, and The Purgatory Poems.
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