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Existence as Theme in Carlo Cassola's Fiction


Peter N. Pedroni

Despite his early reputation as a neorealist, Cassola's themes were existential and his purpose was always to express existential emotions - the feeling of awe in the contemplation of the importance of the opposite sex as a catalyst to active participation in life, the mysterious ways in which a life's destiny is determined, the irrevocable passing of time with its inherent sense of loss, the fundamental sadness caused by the necessity of death, and joy in the acceptance of existence as an absolute value in itself. The material that he used to express these emotions ranges from every- day life in small town Italy to action-filled combat scenes based on his own experiences as a partisan fighter during World War II.
Cassola's fiction offers the reader an unusually clear perspective of the complexities of contemporary Italian society and of the relationship of the individual to that society.
Contents: The Early Fiction - The Post-War Period - The So-called Neorealist Phase - The Return to the Youthful Poetics - The Early 1970s.