Other literary forms
While known primarily for his novels, Ignazio Silone (see-LOH-nay) also wrote short stories, sketches, essays, and plays. The essays and plays are considered to be among his finest works. Silone’s essays are, for the most part, autobiographical in character and apologetic in tone. His most famous essay, “Uscita di sicurezza” (“Emergency Exit,” which first appeared in English in 1949), was published in Italian in 1951. The essay recounts the author’s personal odyssey from early allegiance to the Communist Party, through his opposition to the Fascist regime in Italy and eventual exile in Switzerland, to a dramatic break with the Italian Socialist Party in the years following the reestablishment of democracy. Despite its intention to defend the author’s controversial political stances, the essay is free of polemical rhetoric and is distinguished by the simple and direct manner of expression that marks the style of Silone’s novels as well. This essay also appeared in 1965 in a collection with the same name.
The plays, though they often employ the same themes as the novels, lack their dramatic intensity and complex symbolic development. La scuola dei dittatori (pb. 1938; The School for Dictators, 1938), a satire, seems foreign to the usual tone of Silone’s work. Ed egli si nascose (pb. 1944; And He Did Hide Himself, 1946), which elaborates a single strand of the plot of the novel Bread and Wine,...
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