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Intellectual Communities and Partnerships in Italy and Europe

Studies in Honour of Mark Davie

Edited By Danielle Hipkins

This book has been inspired by the emphasis that Mark Davie’s studies have put on the cooperative nature of artistic and intellectual pursuits in the humanities. Whilst the importance of connections between intellectuals is often acknowledged in the form of intertextual studies, research into real dialogue between individuals is little researched, partly due to the practical challenges of such research. The ten chapters of this book – written by specialists in different cultures – redress in part this imbalance and offer a new angle on the canon by tracing the impact of concrete partnerships and communities in Italian and European history. The issues that the volume’s contributors keep in mind include: the reasons that artists and intellectuals choose to collaborate; the forms that this collaboration takes; the factors that determine its success; and whether some areas of culture lend themselves to intellectual collaboration better than others.


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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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