Peter Michael Riccio (essay date 1938)
SOURCE: "Corrado Alvaro," in Italian Authors of Today, 1938. Reprint by Books for Libraries Press, 1970, pp. 167-69.
[In the following essay, Riccio praises Alvaro's works for their depictions of the human spirit.]
Gente in Aspromonte by Corrado Alvaro had the distinction recently of carrying off the coveted prize of 50,000 lire offered by La Stampa of Turin for the best novel of the year published in Italy. That this book of Corrado Alvaro is worthy of such recognition is not difficult to understand if we pause a moment to consider the work of this young writer who hails from Calabria and spends most of his time in Rome trying to eke out a living by the use of his pen.
Alvaro first caught the public eye by a series of short stories that contained interesting cross-sections of the primitive and rustic life of his native Calabria. In L'Amata a/la Finestra, an earlier work, and in the prize volume Gente in Aspromonte, Alvaro offers a collection of Calabrian scenes colored with the sharp tints of an intense realism and of a deep melancholy which make the reading of them a delightful treat, especially if one compares these writings of Alvaro with those of the vast majority of his literary contemporaries. Furthermore, a perusal of Alvaro's work reveals a literary technique that is devoid of the superfluously decorative flourishes that have been the curse of so many Italian writers. The sharp, barren and rugged coast of Calabria and the hard, primitive and passionate life of the people are depicted in a style that enhances the beauty and charm of the literary pictures. And with what depth and effect does the pen of Alvaro dip into the very heart and...
(The entire section is 716 words.)