9 September 2019

9 September

Cesare Pavese - writer and translator


Author introduced great American writers to Fascist Italy

Cesare Pavese, the writer and literary critic who, through his work as a translator, introduced Italy to the Irish novelist James Joyce and a host of great American authors of the 20th century, was born on this day in 1908 in Santo Stefano Belbo, a town in Piedmont about 60km from Turin.  Pavese would become an acclaimed novelist after the Second World War but was frustrated for many years by the strict censorship policies of Italy’s Fascist government.  It is thought he devoted himself to translating progressive English-language writers into Italian as the best way by which he could promote the principles of freedom in which he believed.  Pavese’s translations would have given most Italians they first opportunity to read writers such as Herman Melville, William Faulkner, Charles Dickens, Gertrude Stein, John Steinbeck, John Dos Passos and Daniel Defoe, as well as Joyce, who would ultimately spend many years living in Italy.  The son of Eugenio Pavese, an officer of the law courts in Turin, Cesare had a fractured childhood. His father died when he was only six and his mother, Consolina, is said to have shown him little affection. Read more…

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Oscar Luigi Scalfaro – President of Italy


Devout lawyer served the Republic all his life

The ninth President of the Italian Republic, Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, was born on this day in 1918 in Novara.  After studying law and entering the magistrature he became a public prosecutor and is the last Italian attorney to have obtained a death sentence.  In 1945 he prosecuted the former Novara prefect Enrico Vezzalini and five servicemen, who were accused of collaborating with the Germans. All six were condemned to death and the sentence was carried out a few months later.  Subsequently Scalfaro obtained another death sentence, but the accused was pardoned before the execution could take place.  Scalfaro was brought up to be a devout Catholic and studied law at Milan’s Universit√† Cattolica.  Before the war ended he lost his wife, Maria Inzitari, who died a few weeks after giving birth to their daughter. He never remarried.  In 1948, as a member of Democrazia Cristiana, Scalfaro became a deputy representing Turin and was to keep the seat for more than 40 years, during which he held a number of leadership positions within the Christian Democrat party and in the Chamber of Deputies.  Read more…

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Allied troops land at Salerno


Operation that marked start of invasion of Italy

The first wave of an invasion force that would eventually take control of much of the Italian peninsula on behalf of the Allies landed on the beaches around Salerno in Campania on this day in 1943.  More than 450 ships carrying 190,000 troops assembled off the coast on the evening of September 8, shortly after news had broken that terms for the surrender of the Italian half of the Axis forces had been agreed.  The US 36th Infantry Division were in the vanguard of the invasion force, approaching the shore at Paestum at 3.30am on September 9, and there were other landings further up the coast near Battipaglia and Pontecagnano involving British troops.  After news of the Italian surrender, the invasion force, which consisted initially of 55,000 troops, were unsure how much resistance they would encounter.  A decision had been taken not to launch a naval or aerial bombardment in advance of the invasion, in the hope that it would take the enemy by surprise. In fact, the Germans were well prepared and even as the first landing craft approached Paestum, the soldiers on board were greeted with a loudspeaker announcement in English, urging them to give themselves up.  Read more...

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Francesco Carrozzini - director and photographer


Famous for portraits of wealthy and famous

The American-based director and photographer Francesco Carrozzini was born on this day in 1982 in Monza, Italy.  The son of the late former editor-in-chief of the Italian edition of Vogue magazine, Franca Sozzani, Carrozzini has directed many music videos and documentary films and a small number of feature-length movies, including one about the life of his mother.  In photography, he has become best known for his portraits of the rich and famous, including actors such as Robert De Niro and Cate Blanchett, models including Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista, musicians such as Lana Del Ray and Kanye West, and artists including Jeff Koons and Andres Serrano.  Carrozzini has also photographed a number of political leaders, including the former British prime minister Tony Blair, ex-Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg and former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.  He is a founder of the Franca Sozzani Fund for Preventive Genomics, which he helped create following the death of his mother at the age of 66 from a rare form of cancer.  Read more…


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