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Homage to Moravia.

The first and only time I ever saw Alberto Moravia was in Florence in 1969, when his play Il Dio Kurt was staged. After the performance Moravia appeared and answered questions, mostly from hostile students of la contestazione of 1968-69. It was sad to see Italy's greatest novelist mocked by students who had little inkling of what his great contribution to Italian history and literature had been.

At the end of the war there were in Italy three novelists of world stature: Moravia, Pavese, and Vittorini. Of these, in spite of the great talents of Pavese and Vittorini, only Moravia continues to be read. We had all waited year after year with the hope that he would receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, which would have been the crowning honor in the life of this engage writer, but it never came. Moravia thus joins the pantheon of the immortals who did not receive the prize.

Rocco Capozzi and Mario Mignone have put together a group of essays that pays tribute to Moravia's genius. The contributions by Benussi, Menechella, Le Blanc, and Bertone deal with philosophical and theoretical questions. The matter of Moravia's bourgeois status is treated by Moss. More formalistic problems are dealt with by Capozzi and Fontanella, whereas Lunetta and Urgnani analyze satiric and dramatic elements in his work. Kibler provides an excellent account of Moravia's journalistic experiences.

I save for last Luciano Rebay's account of Moravia, Prezzolini, and America. The essay is vibrant with Moravia's experience in America and his acute interpretation of American culture. I might in fact have closed the volume with Rebay's essay, preceded by Capozzi's interview with Dacia Maraini. Both are rich and perceptive and provide an inside view of Moravia's talent. Even Prezzolini and Dino Bigongiari, whose politics are diametrically opposed to Moravia's, emerge as somehow more respectable.

Homage to Moravia serves well the memory of Alberto Moravia as international literary figure, surely one who without question deserved the Nobel Prize.

Joseph V. Ricapito Louisiana State University
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Author:Ricapito, Joseph V.
Publication:World Literature Today
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 22, 1994
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