PRINT Summer 1997


WHEN IT CAME TO WRITING, Curzio Malaparte was a man on fire. He was a journalist and essayist, a novelist and a playwright. When it came to politics, Malaparte was a human weather vane. He was a republican, a nationalist, a fascist, and a communist. While he was dying of cancer in 1957, Malaparte turned the Roman clinic where he was undergoing treatment into the set of a postwar opera buffa. Lying in state, he was paid homage by the most notable of his countrymen, joined the Communist Party, converted to Catholicism, and then, totally synchronized with the prevailing power structure, expired. The fifty-nine-year-old writer left behind a literary legacy that, in its opportunistic relationship to historical “necessity,” mirrored nothing less than the convulsive contractions that led to the birth of modern Italy.

If there was one constant in the contradictory trajectory of Malaparte’s life,

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