The story of the writer Stefano Terra

I was a lonely boy with no art or part / with the anger and melancholy of those without friends“. With these words he said to himself Giulio Tavernari (1917-1986), known by the pseudonym Stefano Terraone of the most unique and revealing characters in Italian literature of the last century.

Who was Stefano Terra?

Born in Turin during the First World War to a father from Bologna and a mother from Turin, he set up his own business at the age of thirteen, starting work as a laborer and then immediately taking on various tasks, from delivery boy to border guard, according to his When he was 20, he started hanging out with young anti-fascists and became friends with Cesare Pavese and others Leone Ginzburg. Because of his political beliefs, he is forced to leave Italy and flee to Cairo, where he joins the group’s exiles Justice and freedom: In the same years he began a career as a journalist and contributed to various newspapers such as IL Corriere d’Italia Hey Notebooks of Justice and Freedom, where he took over the position of editor-in-chief. In 1943 he returned to Italy, first to Rome and then to Milan, to run the newspaper Free Italy: Elio Vittorini invites him to collaborate The Polytechnicnext to Franco Calamandrei, Franco Fortini And Vito Pandolfi: During this time, the French translation of his first novel was published in installments in France. The return of the prisonerpublished in 1944, defined by Terra as “bitter chronicle of those who see the failure of a generation“. In 1950 he worked in Belgrade as a correspondent for RAI and Ansa to follow the formation of the third bloc of non-aligned countries: he met Tito and described his personality in the essay Three years with Tito (1953), followed by The Empress’s smile. Travel to Greece and the Middle East (1958), passionate memoir of his work as a correspondent.

Stefano Terra, The Kalimegdan Fortress

Terra’s novels

As a writer, Terra publishes several novels, among which he stands out The Kalimegdan Fortress (1956). In 1968 he ended his career as a journalist and devoted himself entirely to writing and publishing Warm as a dove (1971), Alexandra (1974, Campiello Prize), The iron doors (1979), Minerva Hotel (1982), A trip of a lifetime (1984). Goffredo Fofi discovers it thanks to a suggestion from Elsa Morante and falls in love with it: “Kalimegdan Fortress is perhaps his best book, about the search for a missing person during times of war between Greece and Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Yugoslavia. A world that Italian readers knew little about, except those who had been there as soldiers or diplomats… and for this reason, too, his books fascinated me.”. The iron doors it strikes instead Claudio Magriswhich will be written about in 2018 Corriere della Sera: “Turin, man of many professions, travels and adventures, anti-fascist émigré, journalist and writer of fortune, nomad in existence and soul and with strong Piedmontese and libertarian roots, poet but above all storyteller, Terra is a true, strong writer“. Loved and appreciated by his colleagues, Stefano Terra is one of the many talents that our country has failed to recognize and that is still waiting to be discovered by the general public.

Ludovico Pratesi

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