Salvatore Quasimodo

Quasimodo, Salvatore (sälvätôˈrā kwäzēˈmōdō) [key], 1901–68, Italian poet and translator, b. Sicily. Quasimodo worked first as a technical designer and civil engineer. His five volumes of verse published between 1930 and 1938, including Acque e terra (1930), established him as leader of Italy's "hermetic" poets, whose verbal complexity, derived from the French symbolists, was used in discreet opposition to Mussolini. His anti-Fascist activities during World War II led to his imprisonment. Quasimodo's poetic ripening and his commitment as poet to the plight of modern man brought him the 1959 Nobel Prize in Literature. His mature style is marked by increased clarity and sensitivity. He chose to interpret man's history and fate with an underlying lament for human defeat in a violent universe. His works include Dare e avere: 1959–1965 (1966, tr. To Give and to Have, 1969) and Debit and Credit (tr. 1972).

See his Selected Writings (tr. 1960) and The Poet and the Politician and Other Essays (tr. 1964).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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