Studies in Honour of Mark Davie
Edited By Danielle Hipkins
Part II 79
Part II Luciano Parisi Monti and Pavese: A Critical Friendship In the autumn of 1923 Turin’s Massimo D’Azeglio state high school reo- pened for the start of the new school year. Among the new staf f was forty- two-year-old Augusto Monti, a teacher of Italian and Latin and freelance writer for newspapers (Il corriere della sera) and magazines (La voce, La rivoluzione liberale) which were prestigious in the Italy of his time. He was coming back to Piedmont, where he was born and where he had graduated, after having taught in Sardinia, Calabria and Lombardy, and after having fought as a volunteer in the First World War. In Turin he would write one of his most ambitious books, the novel I sanssôssí, published in 1929.1 Among D’Azeglio’s new students was fifteen-year-old Cesare Pavese, destined to become one of the foremost writers of his generation (the generation of Buzzati, Moravia and Piovene). Pavese had spent his middle school years at the Istituto Sociale (the school described by Mario Soldati in La confessione) and at another high school in Turin. He came from a well-to-do family, was fatherless, controlled by a strict mother, melancholic and passionate about literature.2 Monti was taken by this student who proposed original 1 Monti later added two new parts to the novel, in 1935 and 1949; a revised version of the trilogy was published in 1963. On Monti’s life, see Giovanni Tesio, Augusto Monti. Attualità di un uomo all’antica (Cuneo: Arciere, 1980). Monti’s quotes come from...
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