Eugenio Montale, the Fascist Storm, and the Jewish Sunflower uncovers one of the great hidden sagas of modern literature. During Italy's fascist period, Eugenio Montale - winner of the 1975 Nobel Prize in Literature and one of the greatest modern poets in any language - fell in love with Irma Brandeis, a glamorous and beautiful Dante scholar and an American Jew. While their romance would fall apart, it would have literary repercussions that extended throughout the poet's career: Montale's works abound with secret codes that speak to a lost lover and muse. This study is the first to completely unlock the cryptic thematic link that connects many of Montale's most important poems, which, taken together, form the most significant hidden poetic cycle of modernism. David Michael Hertz explores the intersecting poetic myth and background biography, with precision made possible through recently published archival materials. Bringing the reader into an intense experience of great poetry while telling an engaging story, Hertz vividly shows that close reading in conjunction with biographical and historical materials can be an unforgettable and rewarding experience.
David Michael Hertz is a professor in the Department of Comparative Literature at Indiana University, Bloomington.
List of Illustrations Acknowledgments 1. Introduzione: The Clizia Myth and the Secret Cycle 2. Murder, Manifestoes, and the Poems of the Cinque Terre 3. Love in Fascist Florence 4. The Woman of The Occasions 5. Hitler and Mussolini at the Opera 6. The Storm and the Sun Goddess 7. The Poet and the Modern Beatrice Spread Their Myth around the World 8. Clizia Becomes a Woman Again Coda: Montale, Brandeis, the "I" and the "You" The Italian Notes Works Cited and Additional Bibliography Index of Poems and Translations from the Cycle General Index