Bertolucci, Attilio

Bertolucci, Attilio
▪ 2001

      Italian poet, critic, and translator (b. Nov. 18, 1911, San Lazzaro di Parma, Italy—d. June 14, 2000, Rome, Italy), created lyrical verse that was often based on the details of his family's life and especially his childhood. A sense of anxiety, which was present in the writer's own personality, was a common element in his poetry. Born to farmers, he published his first volume of poems—Sirio (1929)—when he was not yet 18 years old. He studied law at the University of Parma (1931–35) but did not graduate and then took art history classes at the University of Bologna (1935–38). To support himself and his family, he taught, reviewed films and other arts for newspapers, worked in radio and television and in publishing, and contributed to a number of magazines. In 1951 there appeared La capanna indiana (1951), a collection dealing with the search for privacy in a difficult world; it won the Viareggio Prize. La camera da letto, first published in 1984, won Bertolucci a second Viareggio Prize when it was released in an expanded version in 1988. An autobiographical account of his family in verse, it became his best-known work, and the poet read it aloud on a seven-hour television program. Other major volumes of poetry included Fuochi in novembre (1934) and Viaggio d'inverno (1971). Translations by Charles Tomlinson published in Selected Poems in 1993 helped introduce Bertolucci to English readers. As a translator himself, he was partial to the work of such French writers as Charles Baudelaire and Marcel Proust and to a number of British and American writers, especially Thomas Hardy. Both of Bertolucci's sons, Bernardo and Giuseppe, became successful filmmakers.

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▪ Italian poet, literary critic and translator
born Nov. 18, 1911, San Lazzaro Parmense, near Parma, Italy
died June 14, 2000, Rome

      Italian poet, literary critic, and translator. His verse is noted for its lyric accessibility, which was a departure from the Hermetic (Hermeticism) tradition.

      At age 18 Bertolucci published Sirio (1929; “Sirius”), a volume of 27 poems set in his native region of Italy. After attending the University of Parma (1931–35), where he studied law, and the University of Bologna (1935–38), he began teaching art history and contributing to such journals as Circoli, Letteratura, and Corrente. In 1951 Bertolucci moved to Rome and published La capanna indiana (1951; revised and enlarged, 1955, 1973; “The Indian Hut”), which discusses his struggle for peace and privacy in a turbulent world. The work earned Bertolucci the Premio Viareggio, one of Italy's most prestigious literary awards, in 1951. La camera da letto (1984; enlarged, 1988; “The Bedroom”) is a long autobiographical poem about his family history, a subject that inspired much of his work. Bertolucci's other books of poetry include Fuochi in novembre (1934; “Fires in November”), Viaggio d'inverno (1971; “Winter Voyage”), and the bilingual collection Selected Poems (1993). He also translated works by Honoré de Balzac, Charles Baudelaire, Thomas Love Peacock, D.H. Lawrence, and Thomas Hardy. Bertolucci's sons, Bernardo (Bertolucci, Bernardo) and Giuseppe, are noted filmmakers.

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