American writers in Italy; 7
And I don't mean to be as unique not to resent American writers in it with a series of programs especially produced in Rome for this radio station program said Hemingway and the others. The special relationship between American writers and Italy threaten to end most disastrously during the Second World War. Someone with a fine contempt for geography proposed that Sicily break off its connections with the Italian peninsula and become the forty ninth state in the American Union. The proposal was not made by a writer. But it was made and most seriously by a man who was the privileged subject of a
writer a man to whom an entire chapter is dedicated in one of the finest books on Italy written after the Second World War. The book is Eleanor Clarke's Rome and Avila and the chapter is titled Salvatore Giuliano. The Education of a bandit and the and the the the. And God and I are. Elena Clarke is the wife of Robert Penn Warren the scholar and novelist who is widely known for his book All the King's Men. The couple who came to Italy in the early 50s and settled at Porto adequately on the Mediterranean
coast above her own. At that time Bordeaux ethically lay beyond the thundering footsteps of the mass tourists. Robert Penn Warren came to work on his novels his wife came to write this book of Italian impressions. The book contains a chapter on Hadrian's Villa near Tripoli. Roman Journal a study of Gigi belly Roman poet and finally an analysis of Salvatore Giuliano the incredible bandit who terrorized Sicily worried all of Italy and titillated the imagination of foreigners. Until that morning in 1958 when he was found dead in the courtyard of a house at Castello but there are no. There were enormous repercussions to this event which Elena Crocker described.
The people of custom they didn't know. Whatever they thought of him had to apologize to people everywhere else. It was noon as the Judas town and the local youth all became amateur detectives reenacting the final episode in full detail night after night in an effort to prove that the treachery really took place somewhere else. Inman deliberate when the news of his death arrived the village barber suddenly went mad and began yelling that he wanted to go to heaven to shave do yanno. There was another kind of aftermath. A girl named Francesca Emmanuel from Guster that I know in the last state of pregnancy and who had known you know after hearing with no apparent emotion that he had been killed went out and threw herself down a well on the outskirts of town. This happened largely because legend had dressed banditry and this particular
bandit in the Robin Hood trappings of a popular hero not in those of a simple outlaw. There was yet another phase of the reaction as described by Eleanor Clark in another town a painter who went by the name of cork screw that within two days seventeen orders to paint the Giuliano story on the side of don't get cards in place of the old ones of her own chalice. The death of Manfred and so on. He was said to have turned them down because he would need more space to do the job properly. But other artists were available and there followed a general conviction that Giuliano and stolen from the rich to give to the poor. A legend which always arises in such cases and which Miss Clark appears to support. Whether the legend was true or not the death of the band it created a curious sense of emptiness in Sicily which Elena Clark records there was for some months a little feeling of loss and vague depression when he was spoken of broken
only by the rumors that kept arising. That it was not he would been killed after all. It was as if there had been some obscure intimate set back for all of them. This is the very idea of something better not only economically some way of standing tall or having something to say for yourself. Had once more been proved untenable and stamped out like a brush by the air. Will the post war subject such as this we are compelled to determine where we stand historically and literarily from an American point of view. We once again in the tradition of Washington Irving who saw Italy peopled by Shaggy generals outlaws but they almost as though to provide added thrills for the
Anglo-Saxon tourist to a certain extent the answer is yes and also no. Certainly a writer would hardly choose the Banded Giuliano for a subject if they were not this. Stop the press Prarie ends but Elena Clarke is too deeply intellectual to fall back on the old literary tourist tradition. Nor is she capable of the serious faults of Ezra Pound. In the final analysis her study of Giuliano is both honest and well-balanced. Eat.
Honesty and balance may generally be found in the views of Italy taken by American writers after the last war. Even if there is to be noticed a bit too much local color This is evident most strongly as an example in Tennessee Williams the Roman spring of Mrs. Stone the squalid story of a rich aging woman coming to disquieting terms with libidinous Latin vitality. It is painted in more temperate colors and we want a horse such as Linklater as private Angelo and Alfred Hayes. The girl in the VFL I mean Mary McCarthy on the other hand in describing Florence acquired as a dissident chanted and ironic tone day bunking Lee said his reputation for being warm and amusing and stressing instead the ever present room was mosquitoes heat and tourist. Whatever it is that Americans looked for and found in post-war Italy
it is to be seen best in the long run in the works of the most famous of them all. Ernest Hemingway. There were. I mean ways initial post-war contact with Italy was in repel Oh with Ezra Pound. He had known pound earlier in
Paris. But his approach to Italian political realities was incomparably more sober and honest than pounds. This is revealed by Hemingway's early newspaper articles most of which have recently been collected in a volume titled by line. He was sent to Switzerland by the Toronto Star in 1923 to cover the losen conference and his reporting displays a keen insight miscellany is the biggest bluff in Europe. It must mean he would have me taken out and shot tomorrow morning. I would still regard him as a bluff. The shooting would be a bluff. Get hold of a good photo of Senor Mosley need some time and study it. You will see the weakness in his mouth which forces him to scowl. The famous mostly nice gal that is imitated by every 19 year old fascist in Italy study his past record. Study the coalition between capital and labor and consider the history of past coalitions. Study his genius for clothing small ideas in
big words study his propensity for doing really brave men do not have to fight duels and many cowards do it constantly to make themselves believe they are brave and then look at his black shirt and his white spats. There's something wrong even histrionically with a man who wears white spats with a black shirt. At the time this was written Mr Leni was lulling his internal opposition and was beginning to glean some praise outside his own country Hemingway's judgment therefore was extraordinarily acute. Even though it is build up a bit impressionistic Lee less aimed primarily aesthetic approach was used when the young Hemingway came to Italy during the First World War. For him it was not so much war as it was shellshocked experiences in ambulances. But the experience was nevertheless extremely important. Malcolm Cowley who has measured or
authoritatively the spiritual climate of the 20s in America has explained why. The First World War was the first encounter that young people who grew up with the American dream had had with violence. It was their first confrontation with world history. It was also in their blood initiation. Hemingway described it as that. As it was for him and for the others of his generation. How do you do. You're not an Italian and you know.
It was a hard thing to be in the Italian army. It is not really the army. It is only the arguments into video. Why did you do it. And you know I don't know. There isn't always an explanation for everything. The use of course are the characters in Hemingway's A Farewell To Arms. Catherine Barclay is the nurse and the one who is loved by Lieutenant Frederick Henry until the books but that it close. She will die in childbirth after running away to Switzerland. Reality is the Italian Lieutenant decent well-meaning and superficial. The true theme of the book Beyond the mechanics of the plot is intensely symbolic. War in the ambulance is for those who still do not believe that this is truly a war in which men will kill each other. They do not believe in essence that the American dream may be broken but history is too strong.
Henry will be wounded and from that moment on nothing will be as it was before. This is in relation to the book itself in relation to Hemingway's own personal life and in a larger sense in relation to the understanding of the American intellectual and the initiation of blood has taken place. There are. A special interest in A Farewell to Arms is the book's typical Italian reality. He himself is not as important to us as is Hemingway's
treatment of him or in Delhi is treated with an ironical and deferential detachment as if to underline that the world knows how these Latins are really and what is to be expected from them. It is most interesting therefore to follow the Pathan of Hemingway's development and to discover how his attitude toward Italians and toward Italy changes profoundly over the years. At first he was both cynical and skeptical but 30 years later when Hemingway returned to Italy to spend some time in Venice everything had changed. This is seen most clearly in what is both a novel and a personal testament Hemingway's across the river and into the trees. There are there
are. There are errors are there. The hero of this singular work is Richard Cantwell. The colonel who confuses reality with memory. Colonel CANTWELL The army officer in his swift is. Falls in love with and significantly is loved by a young girl who is a part of the Venetian aristocracy. Something in this difficult relationship brings to mind another book written about Italy more than 100 years earlier. William Dean Howells Indian summer but in Hemingway's work it is not the relationship which meets a crisis but the chief character himself Colonel Cantwell as he moves through early Venetian scene in restaurants in
luxury hotels on the lagoon and shooting boxes in the swamps. Undergoes a long and exhausting preparation for death. Cantwell feels that he must die. And he tells the young girl stories of the two world wars. But with what for us is a strangely shifting perspective. The first world war is not now seen as an event foreign to himself that is an ambulance war but it is most immediately his war and the true one. Yes I am a mossel PRV boy and a grapple boy strayed here from Parakey God I must be a boy too if you know what that means. Ya baby get out by and by still be oh well the classic battlegrounds of the First World War. Cantwell feels that they are so much a part of his life that he wants to be buried there. I suppose you should be buried on the ground on the dead end of any show in Park Slope if they would graze cattle over me in the summertime.
Do they have gotten there. Sure they always have cattle where there's good grass in the summer and the girls of the highest houses the strong built ones the houses and the girls. That resist the snow in winter trap foxes in the fall after they bring the cows about. They freed from cold stacked hay later and will fall most amusing and thinks about spending the rest of his life in this area possibly even in Venice itself. I don't live here and retirement pay I could make it all right. No greedy palace. Room in a house like that and the tides and boats going by. We have to be a tough boy in this town to be loved. As far as Colonel Cantwell is concerned and for that matter Hemingway himself he is tough enough to be loved by the city of Venice and its inhabitants but a killing can he be loved by the common people. The drivers the waiters the
gondoliers the hunters and the porters. To take the full measure of the distance that Hemingway came in 30 years it becomes necessary to reopen A Farewell to Arms and re read a well-known Except that is shot through with cynicism. I did not say anything. I was always embarrassed by the words sacred. Glorious. And sacrifice. In the expression. In vain. We had heard them in. Some time standing in the rain almost out of earshot. So that only the shouted words came through and had read them and proclamations that was lapped up
by Bill Posters over other proclamations. Now for a long time and I have seen nothing sacred in the things that were glorious had no glory and the sacrifices were like the stockyards of Chicago that nothing was done with the meat except to bury it. This is the Hemingway of 30 years ago the Hemingway of A Farewell to Arms in contrast and to complete the measure of the long road Hemingway has traveled it becomes necessary to return again to across the river and into the trees and its protagonist Colonel Cantwell Hemingway sets the scene. Yesterday he had driven down from trios to Venice. Along the old road that ran from mun Falcone to light is on and across the flat country. He had a good driver and relaxed completely in the front seat of the car. And looked out at all this country he had known when he was a boy and he reflected. Him looks quite different now. I suppose it is because the
distances are all changed. Everything is much smaller when you're older. Then too the roads are better now and there's no dust. Lists of course as the old Proustian theme. In memory things are always much larger than and different from what reality will show them to be. The memory of a certain place is nothing but regret for a moment in time. And the houses the streets the ballets alas have fled with the years. Then the measure of things begins to recompose itself. The colonel can't well to recompose itself around every day facts of life. Hills and rivers streets and persons. And he begins to question his driver who replies to the questions of the aging Colonel exactly as a young American twenty or thirty years ago would have died. God wills to know whether his driver has been to any of the churches to the museums and whether he likes any of the painters or is seen very many of the pictures.
Yes sir. I thought I ought to see some painting so I went to that big place in Florence. You feed City PD or whatever they call it the biggest one I could looking at those paintings until Madonna started to run out of my ears. I tell you a colonel's or a man has not been checked out in this painting and I only see just about so many were not his and it gets him. You know my theory. You know how crazy they are about Ben being is and the less they got to eat the more bambinos they gotten that they have coming. Well I think these painters were probably big Bambini lovers like all Italians. I don't know those ones you mentioned just now so I don't include them in my theory that he'll put me straight anyway. Looks to me like he's Madonna's. And I really saw plenty of so it looks to me like he's just straight ordinary Madonna painters were sort of a manifest se of this whole Bambini business. If you understand what I mean now it becomes the turn of the kernel to give answers. But he does so only to himself. And within himself. This is one of the few countries worth coming back to. We're living in.
The country means very much to him more than he could say I would ever tell to anyone. He says in the car now beside a driver. Thinking about how happy he is that in another half hour he will be in Venice. And when he realizes how near to Venice he is. He becomes aware of is in a most feelings about the city. I LOVE IT AND I'M SO HAPPY I HAVE defended when I was a punk kid and with an insufficient command of the language and I never even saw her until that clear day in the winter when I went back to have a small room dressed. So I rising from the sea. I wish I could find it again. In a very special sense this happened to him in a way as it did to many American
writers in the post-war period West abolition of relationship with Italy which was no longer superficial. They came to Italy seeking to reaffirm their solidarity with men and with things. In Italy they had fought two difficult and bloody world wars. They returned to the battlefields and elicit is which had been devastated and then rebuilt. They wish to prove that life cannot and must not be stopped at the moment of violated innocence the moment in the trenches with bombs and mortars exploding. Life must continue. New ties must be forged with men who were enemies. It was necessary to build a new kind of solidarity. Ernest Hemingway after 30 years made this return to Italy or and.
This is going to clue to the seventh and final program in our series on American authors and their relationship to Italy programs especially produced in Rome for this radio station this 7 program was titled Hemingway and the other books. The music on this program included excerpts from the works of Verdi as well as portions of Italian music of the First World War. The music is from the company to ecology and my take on. This series of seven programmes on American writers in Italy was presented by
a guy I don't believe means you and me again. This is the national educational radio network.
- American writers in Italy
- Episode Number
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 69-34-7 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- Chicago: “American writers in Italy; 7,” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed March 3, 2024, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-x921hm5d.
- MLA: “American writers in Italy; 7.” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. March 3, 2024. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-x921hm5d>.
- APA: American writers in Italy; 7. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-x921hm5d