POLITICIAN AND JOURNALIST
Fondazione Carlo LeviThe Foundation works to promote the knowledge of Levi's work as a painter, writer and political figure.
It was written in Florence between December 1943 and July 1944, during the German occupation, and published by Einaudi publishing house by September 1945. It was immediately a great success and aroused debates and reflections on the relationship between peasant civilisation and modernisation. The book represents for Italian literature one of the masterpieces and, in Carlo Levi’s life, the beginning of his writing activity.
As defined by Italo Calvino, it is the “book that must be the starting point for any discussion of Carlo Levi as a writer”… “an unusual kind of book in our literature, intended to propose the broad outlines of a conception of the world, a reinterpretation of history”. Even though it was written at the end of 1939, while the beginning of Second World War was raging and Levi was exiled in France, the book was not published until 1946. In the preface to the first edition…
“At night, in Rome, it seems you can hear lions roaring. There is an indistinct murmur, and that is the city breathing, amidst its dark domes and the distant hills, in shadow that glistens here and there; and every so often, the raucous noise of sirens, as if the sea were nearby, and ships were setting sail from the harbor for unknown horizons. And then there is that sound, both lovely and savage, cruel but not devoid of an odd sweetness, the roaring of lions, in the nocturnal desert of houses”.