Curzio Malaparte

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Curzio Malaparte (Italian pronunciation: [ˈkurtsjo malaˈparte; 9 June 1898 – 19 July 1957), born Curt Erich Suckert, was an Italian writer, film-maker, war correspondent and diplomat. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_0

Malaparte is best known outside Italy due to his works Kaputt (1944) and La pelle (1949). Curzio Malaparte_sentence_1

The former is a semi-fictionalised account of the Eastern Front during the Second World War and the latter is an account focusing on morality in the immediate post-war period of Naples (it was placed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum). Curzio Malaparte_sentence_2

During the 1920s, Malaparte was one of the intellectuals who supported the rise of Italian fascism and Benito Mussolini, through the magazine 900. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_3

Despite this, Malaparte had a complex relationship with the National Fascist Party and was stripped of membership in 1933 for his independent streak. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_4

Arrested numerous times, he had Casa Malaparte created in Capri where he lived under house arrest. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_5

After the Second World War, he became a film maker and moved closer to both Togliatti's Italian Communist Party and the Catholic Church (though once a staunch atheist), reputedly becoming a member of both before his death. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_6

Biography Curzio Malaparte_section_0

Background Curzio Malaparte_section_1

Born in Prato, Tuscany, Malaparte was a son of a German father, Erwin Suckert, a textile-manufacturing executive, and his Lombard wife, née Evelina Perelli. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_7

He was educated at Collegio Cicognini in Prato and at La Sapienza University of Rome. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_8

In 1918 he started his career as a journalist. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_9

Malaparte fought in World War I, earning a captaincy in the Fifth Alpine Regiment and several decorations for valor. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_10

His chosen surname Malaparte, which he used from 1925, means "evil/wrong side" and is a play on Napoleon's family name "Bonaparte" which means, in Italian, "good side". Curzio Malaparte_sentence_11

National Fascist Party Curzio Malaparte_section_2

In 1922 he took part in Benito Mussolini's March on Rome. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_12

In 1924, he founded the Roman periodical La Conquista dello Stato ("The Conquest of the State", a title that would inspire Ramiro Ledesma Ramos' La Conquista del Estado). Curzio Malaparte_sentence_13

As a member of the Partito Nazionale Fascista, he founded several periodicals and contributed essays and articles to others, as well as writing numerous books, starting from the early 1920s, and directing two metropolitan newspapers. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_14

In 1926 he founded with Massimo Bontempelli the literary quarterly "900". Curzio Malaparte_sentence_15

Later he became a co-editor of Fiera Letteraria (1928–31), and an editor of La Stampa in Turin. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_16

His polemical war novel-essay, Viva Caporetto! Curzio Malaparte_sentence_17

(1921), criticized corrupt Rome and the Italian upper classes as the real enemy (the book was forbidden because it offended the Royal Italian Army). Curzio Malaparte_sentence_18

Technique du coup d'Etat Curzio Malaparte_section_3

In Technique du coup d`Etat (1931), Malaparte set out a study of the tactics of coup d'etat, particularly focusing on the Bolshevik Revolution and that of Italian fascism. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_19

Here he stated that "the problem of the conquest and defense of the State is not a political one ... it is a technical problem", a way of knowing when and how to occupy the vital state resources: the telephone exchanges, the water reserves and the electricity generators, etc. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_20

He taught a hard lesson that a revolution can wear itself out in strategy. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_21

He emphasizes Leon Trotsky's role in organising the October Revolution technically, while Lenin was more interested in strategy. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_22

The book emphasizes that Joseph Stalin thoroughly comprehended the technical aspects employed by Trotsky and so was able to avert Left Opposition coup attempts better than Kerensky. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_23

For Malaparte, Mussolini's revolutionary outlook was very much born of his time as a Marxist. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_24

On the topic of Adolf Hitler, the book was far more doubtful and critical. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_25

He considered Hitler to be a reactionary. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_26

In the same book, first published in French by Grasset, he entitled chapter VIII: A Woman: Hitler. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_27

This led to Malaparte being stripped of his National Fascist Party membership and sent to internal exile from 1933 to 1938 on the island of Lipari. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_28

Arrests and Casa Malaparte Curzio Malaparte_section_4

He was freed on the personal intervention of Mussolini's son-in-law and heir apparent Galeazzo Ciano. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_29

Mussolini's regime arrested Malaparte again in 1938, 1939, 1941, and 1943, imprisoning him in Rome's jail Regina Coeli. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_30

During that time (1938–41) he built a house with the architect Adalberto Libera, known as the Casa Malaparte, on Capo Massullo, on the Isle of Capri. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_31

It was later used as a location in Jean-Luc Godard's film Le Mépris. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_32

Shortly after his time in jail he published books of magical realist autobiographical short stories, which culminated in the stylistic prose of Donna come me (Woman Like Me, 1940). Curzio Malaparte_sentence_33

Second World War and Kaputt Curzio Malaparte_section_5

His remarkable knowledge of Europe and its leaders is based upon his experience as a correspondent and in the Italian diplomatic service. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_34

In 1941 he was sent to cover the Eastern Front as a correspondent for Corriere della Sera. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_35

The articles he sent back from the Ukrainian Fronts, many of which were suppressed, were collected in 1943 and brought out under the title Il Volga nasce in Europa ("The Volga Rises in Europe"). Curzio Malaparte_sentence_36

The experience provided the basis for his two most famous books, Kaputt (1944) and The Skin (1949). Curzio Malaparte_sentence_37

Kaputt, his novelistic account of the war, surreptitiously written, presents the conflict from the point of view of those doomed to lose it. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_38

Malaparte's account is marked by lyrical observations, as when he encounters a detachment of Wehrmacht soldiers fleeing a Ukrainian battlefield, Curzio Malaparte_sentence_39

In the foreword to Kaputt, Malaparte describes in detail the convoluted process of writing. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_40

He had started writing it in the autumn of 1941, while staying in the home of Roman Souchena in the Ukrainian village of Pestchianka, located near the local "House of the Soviets" which was requisitioned by the SS; the village was then just two miles behind the front. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_41

Souchena was an educated peasant, whose small home library included the complete works of Pushkin and Gogol. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_42

Souchena's young wife, absorbed in Eugene Onegin after a hard day's work, reminded Malaparte of Elena and Alda, the two daughters of Benedetto Croce. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_43

The Souchena couple helped Malaparte's writing project, he keeping the manuscript well hidden in his house against German searches and she sewing it into the lining of Malaparte's clothing when he was expelled from the Ukrainian front because of the scandal of his articles in Corriere della Sera. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_44

He continued the writing in January and February 1942, which he spent in Nazi-occupied Poland and at the Smolensk Front. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_45

From there he went to Finland, where he spent two years - during which he completed all but the final chapter of the book. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_46

Having contracted a serious illness at the Petsamo Front in Lapland, he was granted a convalescence leave in Italy. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_47

En route, the Gestapo boarded his plane at the Tempelhof Airport in Berlin and the belongings of all passengers were thoroughly searched. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_48

Fortunately, no page of Kaputt was in his luggage. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_49

Before leaving Helsinki, he had taken the precaution of entrusting the manuscript to several Helsinki-based diplomats: Count Agustín de Foxá [], Minister at the Spanish Legation; Prince Dina Cantemir, Secretary of the Romanian Legation; and Titu Michai, the Romanian press attaché. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_50

With the help of these diplomats, the manuscript finally reached Malaparte in Italy, where he was able to publish it. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_51

One of the most well-known and often quoted episodes of Kaputt concerns the interview which Malaparte - as an Italian reporter, supposedly on the Axis side - had with Ante Pavelić, who headed the Croat puppet state set up by the Nazis. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_52

Milan Kundera's view of the Kaputt is summarized in his essay The Tragedy of Central Europe: Curzio Malaparte_sentence_53

According to D. Moore's editorial note, in The Skin, Curzio Malaparte_sentence_54

The book was condemned by the Roman Catholic Church, and placed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_55

The Skin was adapted for the cinema in 1981. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_56

From November 1943 to March 1946 he was attached to the American High Command in Italy as an Italian Liaison Officer. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_57

Articles by Curzio Malaparte have appeared in many literary periodicals of note in France, the United Kingdom, Italy and the United States . Curzio Malaparte_sentence_58

Film directing and later life Curzio Malaparte_section_6

After the war, Malaparte's political sympathies veered to the left and he became a member of the Italian Communist Party. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_59

In 1947, Malaparte settled in Paris and wrote dramas without much success. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_60

His play Du Côté de chez Proust was based on the life of Marcel Proust and Das Kapital was a portrait of Karl Marx. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_61

Cristo Proibito ("Forbidden Christ") was Malaparte's moderately successful film—which he wrote, directed and scored in 1950. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_62

It won the "City of Berlin" special prize at the 1st Berlin International Film Festival in 1951. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_63

In the story, a war veteran returns to his village to avenge the death of his brother, shot by the Germans. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_64

It was released in the United States in 1953 as Strange Deception and voted among the five best foreign films by the National Board of Review. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_65

He also produced the variety show Sexophone and planned to cross the United States on bicycle. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_66

Just before his death, Malaparte completed the treatment of another film, Il Compagno P. After the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Malaparte became interested in the Maoist version of Communism but his journey to China was cut short by illness, and he was flown back to Rome. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_67

Io in Russia e in Cina, his journal of the events, was published posthumously in 1958. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_68

Malaparte's final book, Maledetti Toscani, his attack on middle and upper-class culture, appeared in 1956. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_69

In the collection of writings Mamma marcia, published posthumously in 1959, Malaparte writes about the youth of the post-World War II era with homophobic tones, describing it as effeminate and tending to homosexuality and communism; the same content is expressed in the chapters "The pink meat" and "Children of Adam" of The Skin. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_70

He died in Rome from lung cancer on 19 July 1957. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_71

Cultural representations of Malaparte Curzio Malaparte_section_7

Malaparte's colorful life has made him an object of fascination for writers. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_72

The American journalist, Percy Winner, wrote about their relationship during the fascist ventennio through the Allied Occupation of Italy, in the lightly fictionalized novel, (where the main character's last name is Duvolti, or a play on "two faces"). Curzio Malaparte_sentence_73

Recently, the Italian authors Rita Monaldi and Francesco Sorti published (Death Like Me, 2016). Curzio Malaparte_sentence_74

Set on Capri in 1939, it gives a fictionalized account of a mysterious death in which Malaparte was implicated. Curzio Malaparte_sentence_75

Main writings Curzio Malaparte_section_8

Curzio Malaparte_unordered_list_0

  • Viva Caporetto! (1921, aka La rivolta dei santi maledetti)Curzio Malaparte_item_0_0
  • Technique du coup d'etat (1931) translated as Coup D'etat: The Technique of revolution, E. P. Dutton & Co., Inc., 1932Curzio Malaparte_item_0_1
  • Donna come me (1940) translated as Woman Like Me, Troubador Italian Studies, 2006 ISBN 1-905237-84-7Curzio Malaparte_item_0_2
  • . (1943) ISBN 1-84158-096-1Curzio Malaparte_item_0_3
  • Kaputt (1944) ISBN 0-8101-1341-4 translated as . New York Review Books Classics, 2007Curzio Malaparte_item_0_4
  • . (1949) ISBN 0-8101-1572-7 translated as . by David Moore, New York Review Books Classics, 2013, ISBN 978-1-59017-622-1 (paperback)Curzio Malaparte_item_0_5
  • Du Côté de chez Proust (1951)Curzio Malaparte_item_0_6
  • Maledetti toscani (1956) translated as Those Cursed Tuscans, Ohio University Press, 1964Curzio Malaparte_item_0_7
  • The Kremlin Ball (1957) translated by Jenny McPhee, 2018 ISBN 978-1681372099Curzio Malaparte_item_0_8
  • Muss. Il grande imbecille (1999) ISBN 978-8879841771Curzio Malaparte_item_0_9
  • Benedetti italiani postumo (curato da Enrico Falqui) (1961), edito da Vallecchi Firenze (2005), presentazione di Giordano Bruno Guerri ISBN 88-8427-074-XCurzio Malaparte_item_0_10
  • The Bird that Swallowed its Cage: The Selected Writings of Curzio Malaparte adapted and translated by Walter Murch, 2013 ISBN 9781619022812Curzio Malaparte_item_0_11
  • Diary of a Foreigner in Paris, translated by Stephen Twilley (New York Review Books Classics, 2020)Curzio Malaparte_item_0_12

Filmography Curzio Malaparte_section_9

Curzio Malaparte_unordered_list_1

See also Curzio Malaparte_section_10

Curzio Malaparte_unordered_list_2

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: Malaparte.