Other Literary Forms

(Literary Essentials: Great Poems of the World)

Cesare Pavese was primarily a novelist. He wrote nine novels, beginning with Paesi tuoi in 1941 (The Harvesters, 1961). His nonfiction Dialoghi con Leucò (1947; Dialogues with Leucò, 1966) and the novel La luna e i falò (1950; The Moon and the Bonfire, 1952) are considered his masterpieces. Pavese is noted for dealing with classical myths and writing about characters from the countryside. R. W. Flint translated a selection of his fiction, and many of his works of fiction continue to be available in English.

Pavese was also a respected essayist. In his expanded edition of Hard Labor, published in 1943, he included two highly valued essays: “The Poet’s Craft” and “Concerning Certain Poems Not Yet Written.” His other essays were published posthumously as La letteratura americana e altri saggi, edited by Italo Calvino, in 1951. In 1970, they were translated in English by Edwin Fussell as American Literature: Essays and Opinions.

Pavese was also an accomplished translator of English works into Italian. He began with Sinclair Lewis’s Our Mr. Wrenn in 1931. He went on to translate such authors as Herman Melville, James Joyce, Sherwood Anderson, and William Faulkner. His diaries and letters were also published.