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Carlo Emilio Gadda

Biography

Carlo Emilio Gadda was born in 1893 in Milan. He was the eldest of three children, and was particularly close to his young brother, who was killed in World War I. He went to university, initially studying literature but then, after his father’s death, switching to engineering. When Italy entered World War I, Gadda signed up. He was later captured by the Germans and was a prisoner of war. The journal he kept of his wartime experiences, not published till 1955, was one of his earliest literary works. After returning to Italy, he completed his engineering studies, graduating from the University of Milan in 1920. He started work as engineer and joined the Fascist Party. He also joined the Fascist Party in Argentina when he worked there in 1923. On returning to Italy, he worked on a novel which was only published in 1983 in fragmented form. He returned to the University of Milan to study philosophy but never completed his thesis.

While continuing to work as an engineer, he started to publish short stories, including in one of the leading Italian literary magazines, Solaria. He also wrote essays and worked on novels, though did not publish a novel till 1938, after the death of his mother. In 1940, he abandoned his career as an engineer and became a full-time writer, living in Florence. In 1950 he moved to Rome, where he worked for Italian radio. During the 1940s, he was working on his great novel, Quer pasticciaccio brutto de via Merulana (That Awful Mess on Via Merulana), which was published in serial form in 1946 and then rewritten for book publication in 1957. This was his last major narrative work, though he did later publish Eros e Priapo, a savage attack on Mussolini. He died in 1973. Though not particularly well-known outside Italy, Quer pasticciaccio brutto de via Merulana (That Awful Mess on Via Merulana) is considered by many Italians to be the great Italian modernist work, with language games, confusion and a detective story which has an open-ended conclusion.

Links

Carlo Emilio Gadda
The Edinburgh Journal of Gadda Studies
Carlo Emilio Gadda (in Italian)
Carlo Emilio Gadda (in Italian)
Carlo Emilio Gadda (in Italian)
Carlo Emilio Gadda (in Italian)
Carlo Emilio Gadda 1893-1973 (in Italian)
Archivio Elettronico delle Opere di Carlo Emilio Gadda (in Italian)

Bibliography

1931 La Madonna dei filosofi (The Philosophers’ Madonna)
1934 Il castello di Udine
1939 Le meraviglie d’Italia
1943 Gli anni
1944 L’Adalgisa. Disegni milanesi (Adalgisa)
1952 Il primo libro delle favole
1953 Novelle dal ducato in fiamme
1955 Giornale di guerra e di prigionia
1955 I sogni e la folgore
1957 Quer pasticciaccio brutto de via Merulana (That Awful Mess on Via Merulana)
1958 I Viaggi la morte
1961 Verso la Certosa
1963 I racconti: accoppiamenti giudiziosi, 1924-1958
1963 La cognizione del dolore (Acquainted with Grief)
1964 I Luigi di Francia
1964 Le meraviglie d’Italia. Gli anni
1965 I racconti
1967 Eros e Priapo–da furore a cenere
1967 Il guerriero, l’amazzone, lo spirito della poesia nel verso immortale del Foscolo. Conversazione a tre voci
1970 La meccanica
1971 Novella seconda
1973 Norme per la redazione di un testo radiofonico
1974 Meditazione milanese
1977 La verità sospetta
1981 Le bizze del capitano in congedo e altri racconti
1982 Un radiodramma per modo di dire e scritti sullo spettacolo
1982 Il tempo e le opere: saggi, note e divagazioni
1983 Il palazzo degli ori
1983 Racconto italiano di ignoto del Novecento
1985 Gonnella buffone
1985 Un concerto di centoventi professori
1986 Azoto e altri scritti di divulgazione scientifica
1988 I miti del somaro
1988 Romanzi e racconti I
1989 Romanzi e racconti II
1991 Taccuino di Caporetto: diario di guerra e di prigionia (ottobre 1917-aprile 1918)
1991 Saggi, giornali, favole I
1991 Il Tevere
1992 Saggi, giornali, favole II
1992 Grumi di pensiero silvano
1993 Poesie
1993 Scritti vari e postumi
1993 Per favore, mi lasci nel’ombra
1994 Le carte militari di Gadda
1994 Un fulmine sul 220
1994 Un pensiero
1995 Quattordici favole segrete
1995 Disegni milanesi
1996 Racconti dispersi
2001 Meraviglie d’Abruzzo
2005 I Littoriali del Lavoro e altri scritti giornalistici 1932-1941
2007 Villa in Brianza