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MAN IS STRONG (working title)

Corrado Alvaro

  • Original Title: L'UOMO E FORTE
  • Publication date: November 1938
  • Publisher: BOMPIANI
  • Country: IT
  • 330 print pages
  • Drama/Classic

Information

  • Epoch: Historical
  • Themes: PEOPLE facing life, Identity crisis, Moral dilemma, PEOPLE facing the extraordinary, Manipulation, Injustice, Survival, SOCIETY DYSFUNCTIONS, Violence, Power, Totalitarian regime, Fanaticism, War and other conflicts, Corruption, SOCIAL CHRONICLES, Commitment, LOVE / HATE, Sex, Amorous urge

Pitch

A dystopian novel censored when it was first published in 1938, in which after a civil war between “partisans” and “gangs”, engineer Dale witnesses the establishment of a brutal dictatorship. It will be his love for the daughter of a couple of “people’s enemy”, that will bring him on the verge of death, after being suspected, persecuted and convicted.

Comments

Translation rights sold: UK

Winner of the literary prize of the Accademia d’Italia in 1940.
Winner of the Strega Prize in 1951

In Italy a TV drama was adapted from the book in 1979

Corrado Alvaro (1895 - 1956) was an Italian journalist and writer of novels, short stories, screenplays and plays. In 1926 he published his first novel, L'UOMO NEL LABIRINTO (Man in the Labyrinth), which explored the growth of Fascism in Italy in the 1920s. A staunch democrat with strong anti-Fascist views, his politics made him the target of surveillance of Mussolini's regime.

Summary

This dystopian novel, published in 1938, was censored because of its description of a totalitarian society way darker and scarier than the one depicted by Orwell some years later in 1984.

After a civil war between “partisans” and “gangs”, engineer Dale witnesses the establishment of a brutal dictatorship. By pretending to promote a fair and strong society, the regime controls every part of private lives, instilling fear and guilt. Even love is considered dangerous because it draws away from collective good. But it will be his love for Barbara, daughter of a couple of “people’s enemy”, that will bring Dale on the verge of death, after being suspected, persecuted and convicted.


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  • Author’s biography

    Corrado Alvaro (1895 - 1956) was an Italian journalist and writer of novels, short stories, screenplays and plays. Above all, he was an intellectual of strong civic, ethical and cultural sensitivity, which made him able, in the Thirties, to denounce the evil that was spreading throughout Europe. He served as an officer in the Italian army during World War I. After being wounded in both arms, he spent a long time in military hospitals. After the war he worked as a correspondent in Paris for the anti-Fascist paper Il Mondo of Giovanni Amendola. In 1925, he supported the Manifesto of the Anti-Fascist Intellectuals written by the philosopher Benedetto Croce. In 1926 he published his first novel, L'UOMO NEL LABIRINTO (Man in the Labyrinth), which explored the growth of Fascism in Italy in the 1920s. A staunch democrat with strong anti-Fascist views, his politics made him the target of surveillance of Mussolini's regime. He was forced to leave Italy and during the 1930s he travelled widely in western Europe, the Middle East, and the Soviet Union. L'UOMO E FORTE (1938; Man Is Strong), written after a trip in the Soviet Union, is a defence of the individual against the oppression of totalitarianism. Ironically, this book led him to be accused of being a Fascist sympathiser because its content was strongly critical of communist totalitarianism. Nonetheless, the book won the literary prize of the Accademia d’Italia in 1940. In 1951 he won the Strega Prize, Italy's most prestigious literary award.