Salvatore Quasimodo

Quasimodo, Salvatore (1901-1968), Italian poet and critic, born in Modica, Sicily. He began to write while working as a civil engineer. By 1938 he had published five books of poems. From 1940 he was drama critic of the journal Tempo. He founded the Hermetic school of Italian poets, who, unable to speak out openly against fascism, had to write in veiled terms using complex symbolism and a sophisticated style. After World War II his writing became more socially committed, reflecting his opposition to the unjust fascist regime, the horror of war, and the feeling of guilt experienced by the Italians, as in Giorno dopo giorna (1947, Day After Day).

A collection of his writings on the theatre appeared in 1961. Quasimodo also translated much classical Greek and Latin literature as well as works of Shakespeare and modern British and American poets. He was awarded the 1959 Nobel Prize for literature for expressing "the tragic experience of our time". The Selected Writings of Salvatore Quasimodo (1960) was the first major collection of his work to appear in English. Other works include Il poeta e il politico e altri saggi (1960, The Poet and the Politician and Other Essays) and Dare e avere (1966, To Give and to Have and Other Poems).