Humans and their relationship with history and nature, the sea and the pleasure of adventure that determines fate.
The themes of Claudio Magris’ intellectual and artistic exploration are also found in the latest novel by the author of Microcosms. It is the story of a recluse and a fugitive: on the one hand the king of Iceland, Jor Jorgensen, condemned to forced labor far from his homeland, and on the other comrade Salvatore Cippico, going from Nazi concentration camps to Tito’s gulags. It is also many other stories of people who experienced the horrors of the 20th century, with in the background a world where betrayal is understandable and human.
An elegy to rebels. A novel woven of history and delirium, legend and remembrance, a journey into the inquietudes of the soul to find an extreme escape.
Claudio Magris was born in Trieste on April 10, 1939. He was educated in Trieste and also Turin, receiving a degree in German literature and language in 1962. After further studies at the University of Freiburg from 1970 to 1978, he returned to Turin University as professor of German and German Literature. He currently teaches German literature at the University of Trieste and writes editorials for Corriere della Sera. His studies have contributed to Italian knowledge of Central European culture and the literature of the “Habsburg myth:” Il mito asburgico nella letteratura austriaca moderna (1963), Lontano da dove, Joseph Roth e la tradizione ebraico-orientale (1971), Itaca e oltre (1982), L’anello di Clarisse (1984), Danubio (1986). In 1999 he published Utopia e disincanto, a collection of essays.
Other novels are Illazioni su una sciabola (1984) Un altro mare (1991) and Microcosmi (1997, winner of the Strega Prize and a fascinating journey toward discovery of the immense and universal enclosed in a spatially circumscribed and personally relived geography. Magris has also written for the theater: Stadelmann (1988) and La Mostra (2001).
His works have been translated into 27 languages. In 2002 he was awarded the Spanish equivalent of the Nobel, the Principe de Asturias Prize for Literature.
GIUSEPPE TOMASI DI LAMPEDUSA LITERARY PRIZE: GREAT CONTEMPORARY
WRITERS RECEIVE AWARDS IN THE NAME OF THE AUTHOR OF THE GATTOPARDO.
THE AWARD CEREMONY TO BE HELD ON AUGUST 6, IN SICILY; PREVIOUS
PRIZES WENT TO ABRAHAM N. YEHOSHUA AND TAHAR BEN JELLOUN
Although only a few years old, it has already become one of the most authoritative literary prizes in Italy and the Mediterranean. It was founded in Sicily at Santa Margherita Belice in the Belice Valley, site of some of the delightful pages in Il Gattopardo (“The Leopard”).
It was where Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa spent part of his childhood and youth. Creating an unbroken tie between the Sicilian writer and the town, so strong that it has dedicated to him a literary prize whose two previous editions went to major writers in this geographical area embracing the Mediterranean: Abraham B. Yehoshua in 2003 for his novel La sposa liberata (Einaudi) and Tahar Ben Jelloun in 2004 with Amori stregati (Bompiani).
It is not surprising that the jury—headed by Gioacchimo Lanza Tomasi, Giuseppe’s son, and consisting of poetess Maria Luisa Spaziani and Italian literature professors Salvatore Silvano Nigro, Natale Tedesco and Antonio Di Grado—chose those authors. In fact, the prize is given to works dealing with the themes of peace and the coexistence of peoples.
It is an ethical but also political message underscoring how an interweaving of cultures means enrichment for all humanity, the fruit of the meeting of peoples and therefore of people’s histories, above and beyond the places in which they are born, live and die, sharing a common destiny of hope, commitment and human awareness.
A civilization that listens and repudiates offense, that views difference as an element for growth and enrichment. The coherent thought that the jury found in these two great writers, a guideline linking identity to differences, is the guiding light desired for the Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa Literary Prize.
An award that has been distinctive right from the start, accentuating a rapport—material and immaterial—with the area of the Terre Sicane Culture Park (Sciacca, Sambuca di Sicilia, Montevago, Santa Margherita di Belice, Robera, Calamonaci, Cattolica Eraclea, Caltabellotta and Menfi) where identity and differences themselves form the key to reading this portion of Sicily, which is intent on conserving its cultural heritage while striving for a modernity finally viewed as vocation (productive), evocation (literary) and hope (the integration and peaceful cohabitation of peoples).
A project conceived by the Terre Sicane Culture Park and the Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa Institution and supported by the Donnafugata wine estate, which links its nocturnal harvest to the award ceremony, giving it great appeal to journalists and wine-lovers.
This ceremony is held each year in the first week of August in Santa Margherita di Belice, Agrigento Province, in the remarkable Palazzo Filangeri di Cutò. In 2004 the ceremony’s special guest was actress Claudia Cardinale, the memorable Angelica in the film of the Gattopardo directed by Luchino Visconti.
Baldo M. Palermo [email protected] tel. 0039 0923 7242267
Laura Ellwanger [email protected] te. 0039 0923 724258