Biography (Critical Survey of Poetry)
Cesare Pavese was born to parents Eugenio and Consolina Pavese in 1908, at their family vacation spot in the Piedmont region of Italy. The family, which included an older daughter, lived in Turin. His father worked as a bailiff in the court system. When Cesare was six years old, his father died. He started writing poetry while still in secondary school. In 1923, Pavese entered the Liceo Massimo d’Azeglio to complete his high school studies. Agusto Monti became his teacher and mentor. In 1926, Pavese entered the University of Turin. It was here that he began his lifelong interest in American literature. He did his thesis work on Walt Whitman, getting a degree from the university in 1930. His mother died the same year. He also started work on a cycle on poems that would become part of Hard Labor.
To help support himself during his postgraduate years, Pavese translated Herman Melville’s Moby Dick (1851), as well as works by James Joyce, John Dos Passos, and Sherwood Anderson. Pavese also joined anti-Fascist groups; in 1935, he was arrested for holding letters of a jailed anti-Fascist which he received from his girlfriend Tina Pizzardo, who was a member of the Communist Party. Pavese served seven months of a three-year sentence under house arrest and in exile.
His first book, Hard Labor, was published in 1936, but censors reduced the number of poems by four. Pavese would later publish this volume in a much larger...
(The entire section is 399 words.)
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Biography (Critical Survey of Short Fiction, Second Revised Edition)
Cesare Pavese was born on September 9, 1908, in his family home in the village of Santo Stefano Belbo. He grew up there and in the industrial city of Turin, where his father, Eugenio, was a clerk in a law court. After his father died, his mother, Consolina, provided him with the best education available. In high school, he was enthralled by the ideas of Benedetto Croce and Antonio Gramsci and by the aestheticism of Giacomo Leopardi. At the University of Turin, he became captivated by American literature and wrote his thesis on Walt Whitman.
After his graduation in 1930, Pavese began teaching, which required him to join the Fascist party. The Fascists, however, could no more control his mind than could the Communists when he joined that party in 1945. He was arrested for anti-Fascist activities and sentenced to internal exile in rural southern Italy. He was released in March, 1936. Pavese’s conviction ended his teaching career. After he returned from exile, he scraped out a living by writing and by working part-time at the Einaudi Publishing House.
Depression and anguish were Pavese’s constant companions. He was emotionally devastated in 1936 by the failure of his relationship with the antifascist activist Battistina Pizzardo. With astute self-knowledge, he wrote in his diary: “Now I see the reason why I isolated myself until ‘34. Subconsciously I knew that for me love would be a massacre.” His earlier distrust and fear of women was...
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Biography (Critical Survey of Long Fiction, Fourth Edition)
Cesare Pavese was born on September 9, 1908, in Santo Stefano Belbo, a small rural community in the hilly Langhe district of Piedmont, a province in northwestern Italy. His father, who was a minor official in the municipal court of Turin, died in 1914, when Pavese was six. His mother, whom Pavese described as strict and authoritarian in bearing, rarely showed either himself or his sister, Maria, who was six years older, any parental affection or support. Despite this fact, Pavese seems to have been strongly attached to her, and he continued living with her in the family home, remaining unmarried. Following her death in 1930, he moved to his sister’s home, where he lived for the remainder of his life, entertaining friends and callers in the single room that served him as bedroom, study, and parlor.
Though Pavese’s family belonged to the middle class, after the death of his father, the family had to sell the few assets it had to maintain this position. Nevertheless, Pavese received an excellent education. During his early years, he attended school in Turin, spending every summer in the country at the family’s farm in Santo Stefano Belbo, where he had been born. By 1918, however, only four years after the death of his father, the family could no longer afford the privilege of a second home, and the farm was sold, ending what Pavese saw as a vital part of his childhood experience. With the loss of the farm, his direct, personal contact with the simple...
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Biography (Magill's Survey of World Literature, Revised Edition)
The rugged hill country of the Italian Piedmont was not only the region where Cesare Pavese (pah-VAY-say) was born and spent his childhood but a source for the writer’s imagination throughout his brief career. When Pavese was only six years old, his father died, leaving him and his older sister to be raised by a mother who, the writer implies in his journal, was domineering and abusive. Later, critics were to question this picture of his mother, suggesting that Pavese dramatized his account in a journal he meant ultimately to be published. In any case, his mother saw to it that Cesare was given a good education in first-rate schools in Turin.
The young man proved a scholarly and creative student, though his teacher and mentor, Augusto Monti, was quick to discern a streak of morbidity, an unhealthy melancholy, in his star pupil. Already at fifteen, Pavese was becoming depressed and solitary. He read widely, especially the Romantic poets of the period.
By the time Pavese entered the University of Turin at the age of eighteen, he had become convinced that suffering was necessary to the production of art. A writer, he believed, confirms his or her art by the act of pain, emotional, intellectual, and physical. At the university he was attracted to American literature. Though the Fascist regime of Benito Mussolini ignored American studies for political reasons, Pavese was a private, self-absorbed intellectual, indifferent to politics. He enjoyed...
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Biography (Magill's Survey of World Literature, Revised Edition)
Cesare Pavese plumbed his own experiences for the core of his material. His works could readily be understood in the context of the lonely, despairing personality of his journal and letters. Pavese was not, however, simply an autobiographical writer. His solitary protagonists seeking meaning in a violent world express the doubts and anxieties of many, while his colloquial style and poetic evocation of landscape give his work a timeless, universal quality. The secret of his art is its honesty, the fusion of personal anguish with the unflinching rendering of objective reality.
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Biography (Cyclopedia of World Authors, Fourth Revised Edition)
Cesare Pavese (pah-VAY-say) explored the central existential concerns of twentieth century humanity, making him one of Europe’s foremost post-World War II literary figures. Pavese was born to Eugenio, a law clerk, and his wife, Consolina, at the family summer home in Santo Stefano Belbo, a small village in the Piedmont hills. The family had their permanent home in Turin, a northern industrial city that, along with the hills and peasantry of the Piedmont, provided inspiration for Pavese’s literary work.
After his father’s death in 1914 Pavese’s austere and stern mother reared him. She sent him to the best private schools and, in 1927, to the University of Turin. In the 1930’s he was imprisoned for anti-Fascist activities, and after World War II he joined the Communist Party. Yet this political involvement did not reflect his real interests, which were almost entirely literary.
Both politics and love widened the gap between what he thought he should be—a loving, politically committed family man—and what he actually was, an introspective, solitary creative artist. Bitterly disappointed in a love affair in the mid-1930’s, Pavese lost confidence in his ability to establish normal relationships with women. Only his work sustained him. At the age of seventeen he wrote a friend: “As for me, my will to work gets feebler every day, but...
(The entire section is 708 words.)
Cesare Pavese was born September 9, 1908, in Santo Stefano Belbo, Italy, a southern town where his family spent summer vacations. The family home was in Turin, in northern Italy. His father, Eugenio Pavese, worked for the court system. When Pavese was six, his father died of a brain tumor. His mother was a cold and distant woman, and Pavese grew up accustomed to spending time by himself and keeping himself amused.
Pavese started writing poetry while studying at the lyceum, or senior high school, in Turin, and had a few works published before he graduated. It was there that Pavese met Augusto Monti, a teacher who encouraged his writing and influenced his antifascist political stance. At the University of Turin, Pavese studied American literature and later became an important translator of seminal American works, introducing them to the Italian reading public. The thesis he wrote upon graduating in 1930 was on Walt Whitman.
After university, Pavese began a versatile career in letters, publishing criticism, poetry, fiction, and translations in magazines. He taught at the Liceo Massimo d’Azeglio in Turin and also briefly at a night school for adults. His 1932 translation of Melville’s Moby Dick, which was one of his favorite American novels, was greatly influential at a time when Italian audiences were seldom exposed to American literature.
In 1935 Pavese became romantically involved with Tina Pizzardo, a communist. He...
(The entire section is 494 words.)