Bassani, Giorgio (jôrˈjō bäsäˈnê) [key], 1916–2000, Italian novelist. The recurrent background for his complex, analytic narratives about Jewish bourgeois life in Italy was the growth of fascism and anti-Semitism. A major theme is the dichotomy between the innocence of childhood and the cruelty of history, and he stresses the joy of imagination as the only outlet for the individual's alienated existence. Bassani's slow, elegiac prose constantly probes the secret roots and causes of events in psychological drives and urges. His most notable work, The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (1962, tr. 1965, repr. 1974; tr. 1977, repr. 1983, 1996), was made into a film in 1971. Other works that have been issued in English translation include the novellas in Five Stories of Ferrara (1956, tr. 1963; rev. ed. 1965, tr. 1971), the novel The Heron (1968, tr. 1986), and a verse collection Rolls Royce and Other Poems (pub. in English, 1982).
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