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Alberto Moravia


Alberto Moravia was born in Rome in 1907. His name was Alberto Pincherle Moravia but the family generally used the name Pincherle. Moravia adopted the Moravia name to avoid confusion with another writer called Pincherle. Moravia’s father was a Jewish architect who married a Catholic woman twenty years younger than himself. Moravia’s mother wanted him to enter the diplomatic service so had him taught languages at a young age and he could speak English and French when still quite young. He fell ill with tuberculosis when eight years old and was sick for a long time, which meant missing a lot of school. He finally received treatment at a sanatorium, which cured him. After his treatment, he started writing and had a short story published in an avant-garde magazine published by Massimo Bontempelli. Bontempelli encouraged the young writers associated with the magazine to write a novel that would reflect the character of the times. Only Moravia took up the challenge but the novel was rejected by Bontempelli. Moravia took it to the Alpes publishing house, which agreed to publish it, in return for a subsidy of 5000 lire, which Moravia’s father lent him. The book – Gli indifferenti (The Indifferent Ones; The Time of Indifference) – was a great success.

The theme of the moral decadence of the bourgeoisie would be a theme he would continue in his future writings. After the success of the book, he travelled in Europe, Asia and North America, at least in part to escape the Fascist regime. He worked as a foreign correspondent for a newspaper and also translated stories by various American writers. During the 1930s, he wrote little, except a not very well-received novel and some short stories. In 1941 he married the writer Elsa Morante. They were wanted by the Fascist police and had to hide out in Fondi, which he used as the basis for his novel, La ciociara (Two Women). After the war, they returned to Rome and both had literary success. Several of his novels were made into successful films, though in 1952, all his writings were placed on the Catholic Index of Prohibited Books. During the 1950s, he also started writing plays and travelled to the Soviet Union. In 1962 he separated from Elsa Morante and started living with the writer Dacia Maraini, though in 1983 she was replaced by a Spanish woman forty-seven years younger than him. In 1984 he became a Member of the European Parliament. He died in 1990.

Books about Alberto Moravia

T. E. Peterson: Alberto Moravia

Other links

Alberto Moravia
Alberto Moravia (blog devoted to him)
Alberto Moravia (interview)
Alberto Moravia) (in Italian)
Alberto Moravia) (in Italian)
Alberto Moravia (1907-1990) (in Italian)
Biografia Alberto Moravia (1907-1990) (in Italian)
Gadda e Moravia Due scrittori a confronto (in Italian)
Interview (in Italian)


1929 Gli indifferenti (The Indifferent Ones; The Time of Indifference) (novel)
1935 Le ambizioni sbagliate (The Wheel of Fortune; Mistaken Ambitions) (novel)
1935 La bella vita (short stories)
1937 L’imbroglio (short stories)
1940 I sogni del pigro (short stories)
1941 La mascherata (The Fancy Dress Party) (novel)
1943 L’amante infelice (short stories)
1944 Agostino (US: Two Adolescents: The Stories of Agostino and Luca; UK: Two Adolescents: Agostino and Disobedience; English translations include translation of La disubbidienza) (novel)
1944 La speranza: Ossi a cristianesimo e comunismo (non-fiction)
1944 L’epidemia: Racconti surrealistici e satirici (short stories)
1945 Due cortigiane; Serata di Don Giovanni (novellas)
1946 La provinciale (story)
1947 La romana (The Woman of Rome) (novel)
1948 La disubbidienza (Disobedience) (novel)
1949 L’amore coniugale e altri racconti (Conjugal Love) (short stories)
1951 Il conformista (The Conformist) (novel)
1952 I racconti (Bitter Honeymoon and Other Stories; The Wayward Wife and Other Stories) (short stories)
1954 Il disprezzo (A Ghost at Noon; Contempt) (novel)
1954 Racconti romani (Roman Tales) (short stories)
1955 Beatrice Cenci (Beatrice Cenci) (drama)
1957 La ciociara (Two Women) (novel)
1958 Teatro (La mascherata and Beatrice Cenci) (drama)
1958 Un mese in U.R.S.S. (non-fiction)
1959 Nuovi racconti romani (More Roman Tales) (short stories)
1960 I moralisti moderni (with Elemire Zolla) (non-fiction)
1962 Un’idea dell’India (non-fiction)
1963 La noia (The Empty Canvas; Boredom) (novel)
1963 L’automa (The Fetish) (short stories)
1964 L’uomo come fine e altri saggi (Man As an End–A Defense of Humanism: Literary, Social, and Political Essays) (non-fiction)
1965 Cortigiana stanca (short stories)
1965 L’attenzione (The Lie) (novel)
1967 La rivoluzione culturale in Cina ovvero il convitato di ietra (The Red Book and the Great Wall: An Impression of Mao’s China) (non-fiction)
1967 Una cosa e una cosa (Command and I Will Obey You) (short stories)
1968 Il dio Kurt (drama)
1968 Racconti (Racconti di Albert Moravia) (short stories)
1969 La vita e gioco (drama)
1970 Il paradiso (UK: Paradise and Other Stories; US: Bought and Sold) (short stories)
1971 Io et lui (US: Two: A Phallic Novel; UK: The Two of Us) (novel)
1973 Un’altra vita (Lady Godiva and Other Stories; Mother Love) (short stories)
1974 A quale tribu appartieni? (Which Tribe do You Belong To?) (non-fiction)
1975 Al cinema: Centoquarantotto film d’autor (reviews)
1976 Boh (The Voice of the Sea and Other Stories) (short stories)
1978 La vita interiore (Time of Desecration) (novel)
1978 Quando Ba Lena era tanto piccola (non-fiction)
1980 Cosma e i briganti (non-fiction)
1980 Impegno controvoglia: Saggi, articoli, interviste: Trenta-cinque anni di scritti politici (non-fiction)
1981 Lettere del Sahara (non-fiction)
1982 1934 (1934) (novel)
1983 La cosa e altri racconti ( Erotic Tales) (short stories)
1984 La tempesta (novel)
1985 L’uomo che guarda (The Voyeur) (novel)
1985 L’avaro (story)
1985 L’angelo dell’informazione e altri testi teatrali
1987 Passeggiate africane (non-fiction)
1988 Il viaggio a Roma (Journey to Rome) (novel)
1989 Il vassoio davanti alla porta (story)
1990 Vita de Moravia (Life of Moravia) (memoirs)
1990 La villa del venerdì (stories)
1990 Palocco (novel)
1991 La donna leopardo (novel)
1991 Romildo (novel)
1991 Dialoghi confidenziali con Dina d’Isa
1993 Diario europeo. Pensieri, persone, fatti, libri, 1984-1990
1994 Viaggi: Articoli 1930-1990 (non-fiction)
1998 Le chiese rosse e altri racconti (novels)
1998 Romanzi e racconti 1929-1937 (novels)
1998 Moravia inedito
2000 Racconti Dispersi, 1928-1951 (short stories)
2001 Ritratto dell’artista da vecchio: conversazioni con Alberto Moravia (non-fiction)
2007 I due amici. Frammenti di una storia fra guerra e dopoguerra (Two Friends) (novel)
2007 Cinque racconti romani (stories)