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Promoting Italian book publishing throughout the world
Bassani in the World: Visual Translations
Bassani’s works have enjoyed great success not just in Italy, but all over the world. He first acquired an international readership in the 1950s, with the publication in the literary journal Botteghe Oscure of Passeggiata prima di cena, which was immediately translated into English, and the number of his international readers grew surprisingly quickly. The world depicted by Bassani was not seen as merely a mirror of life in Ferrara, but as a microcosm of universal themes expressed using universal forms of representation. Indeed, in his “Ferrara novel”, as if in a laboratory experiment, we observe the reactions of the diverse qualities and tendencies of human beings, the major topics of justice, guilt, the attraction of evil and the compensatory power of memory. Readers of the numerous translations of his works produced over the years in French, German, Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Polish, Japanese, Hebrew and Chinese have recognised in Bassani that rare trait – one very few people possess – of saying something that is, at the same time, both specific and universal, also thanks to his use of language, which enables him to speak to the most disparate readers, both culturally and linguistically speaking. These translations, moreover, were always produced under the author’s watchful eye. The foreign editions presented here, which come mainly from the writer’s private library and are preserved by the Fondazione Giorgio Bassani in Ferrara, also offer a fascinating panorama of how the themes and characters from Bassani’s stories and novels were seen in the collective imagination. The book covers, elegant or excessive, realistic or abstract, are always empathic – a reflection of the fascination and involvement with a literary work that no reader can resist.