Curzio Malaparte (1898-1957) was an German/Italian journalist and writer. He was founder and editor of a few important Italian newspapers from the 20's on. An active member of the fascist party in the early days of his life, latter criticized Mussolini (consequently been expelled from the party and exiled in the island of Lipari for 6 years) and became a Communist. The Mussolini regime arrested Malaparte several times after his exile, during the 30' and 40's.
Malaparte fought in both great wars, earning several decorations in WWI and traveling extensively through Europe while working for the diplomatic service during WWII. It was during this travel time that he writes/publishes an enormous amount of articles (some were suppressed) and two of his most notable and controversial books:
  • The skin- This clever written story about the degradation and devastation of Italian society during 1943-1945 almost puts the north-American troops as the invaders instead of the German ones. Americans are ridiculised for their out placed innocent comments and presumption of moral superiority. The skin was put in the Index Librorum Prohibitorum by the catholic church.
  • Kapput (published only in 1949)- A war novel written from the point of view of the losers, the Germans, which is quite unusual. Based in his experience at the eastern Europe fronts. Cruelty and refinement walk hand-in-hand, shows humanity at its worst.

Both books are vivid images of the military environment Malaparte lived in. Both are quite disturbing and fascinating at the same time.

Although he was apparently quite busy, he did manage to find some time to be the lover of Edoardo Agnelli's widow. Several sources suggest he was the father of Umberto Agnelli (former president of Juventus and FIAT, former Italian senator).
After the war Malaparte settled in Paris were he wrote very successful intellectual plays ("Das Kapital" based on Marx, "Du cótê de chez Proust" based on Proust). During the 50's his interests shifted to cinema. He won a special prize from the Berlin film festival in 51 for "Forbidden Christ", a film he directed and wrote the script for.

In 1936, Malaparte refined taste lead him to invite the architect Adalberto Libera to design a house for him in the island of Capri. Known as Villa Malaparte, the house can be described as a red masonry matchbox riding a very high rocky cliff. One of the sides of the house features a large stair leading to the rooftop patio. Villa Malaparte is quite isolated. It can be reached by boat if the sea is calm or by foot from Capri (1h30 walk). The house was extensively featured in Godard´s film "le Mépris" ( based in Alberto Moravia novel of the same name).

Mashup: Italian writers - architecture - war novels - cinema - politic dissidents - adultery - controversy


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