Bonaviri, Giuseppe 1924–

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Bonaviri, Giuseppe 1924–

PERSONAL: Born July 11, 1924, in Mineo, Sicily, Italy; son of Settimo Emanuele (a tailor and poet) and Giuseppina Casaccio (a homemaker) Bonaviri; married Raffaella Osario (a teacher), 1957; children: two. Ethnicity: "Italiano." Education: University of Catania, medical degree, 1949, certified in cardiology, 1953; attended military academy in Florence, Italy, c. 1950.

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Arnold Mondadori Editions, Via Mondadori, 1, 20090 Seagrate, Milan, Italy.

CAREER: Medical doctor practicing in hospitals and at public health office near Rome, Italy, 1947–; cardiologist in private practice in Frosinone, Italy, 1964–. Military service: Italian Armed Forces, second lieutenant medical officer, 1950.


Il sarto della stradalunga (novel), Einaudi (Turin, Italy), 1954.

La contrada degli ulivi (stories; title means "The Land of the Olive Trees"), Sodalizio del Libro (Venice, Italy), 1958.

Il fiume de pietra (novel; title means "River of Stone"), Einaudi (Turin, Italy), 1964.

La divina foresta (novel; title means "The Divine Forest"), Rizzoli (Milan, Italy), 1969.

Notti sull'altura (novel), Rizzoli (Milan, Italy), 1971, translation by Giovanni R. Bussino published as Nights on the Heights, Peter Lang (New York, NY), 1990.

Le armi d'oro (young-adult novel; title means "Arms of Gold"), Rizzoli (Milan, Italy), 1973.

L'isola amorosa (novel; title means "The Loving Island"), Rizzoli (Milan, Italy), 1973.

(Editor) Settimo Emanuele Bonaviri, L'arcano (poems), 1975.

La beffària (novel; title means "The Big Joke"), Rizzoli (Milan, Italy), 1975.

Martedina e Il dire celeste (novellas), Riuniti (Rome, Italy), 1976.

L'enorme tempo (novel; title means "A Dreadful Time"), Rizzoli (Milan, Italy), 1976.

Follia (play; title means "Madness"), edited by Georgio Barberi Squarotti, Società di Storia Patria (Catania, Sicily), 1976.

Il treno blu (stories; title means "The Blue Train"), La Nuova Italia (Florence, Italy), 1978.

Dolcissimo (novel), Rizzoli (Milan, Italy), 1978, translation by Umberto Mariana published as Dolcissimo, Italica Press (New York, NY), 1990.

Il dire celeste e altre poesie (title means "The Language of the Heavens and Other Poems"), Guanda (Milan, Italy), 1979.

Nel silenzio della luna (poems; title means "In the Silence of the Moon"), Dioscuri (Sora, Italy), 1979.

Novelle saracene (stories), Rizzoli (Milan, Italy), 1980.

Di fumo cilestrino (poems; title means "Of Bluish Smoke"), Dossier Arte (Ancona, Italy), 1981.

Quark (poems), Cometa (Rome, Italy), 1982.

O corpo sospiroso (poems; title means "O Sighing Body"), Rizzoli (Milan, Italy), 1982.

L'incominciamento (poems; title means "Beginnings"), Sellerio (Palermo, Italy), 1983.

L'arenario (essays), Rizzoli (Milan, Italy), 1984.

L'asprura (poems; title means "Harshness"), Cometa (Rome, Italy), 1985.

E'un rosseggiar di peschi e d'albiocochi (novel; title means "Everywhere the Bloom of Peach and Apricot Trees"), Rizzoli (Milan, Italy), 1986.

Lip to lip, Manni (Lecce, Italy), 1988.

Il dormiveglia: Sicilia-Luna-New York (novel), Mondadori (Milan, Italy), 1988.

Ghigò (novel), Mondadori (Milan, Italy), 1990.

Il re bambino (poems; title means "The Baby King"), Mondadori (Milan, Italy), 1990.

Fiabe siciliane (title means "Sicilian Fables"), Mondadori (Milan, Italy), 1990.

Apologhetti (title means "Brief Apologues"), Il Girasole (Catania, Sicily), 1991.

Il dire celeste (collected poems), Mondadori (Milan, Italy), 1993.

Il dottor Bilob (novel), Sellerio (Palermo, Italy), 1994.

Silvinia (novel), Mondadori (Milan, Italy), 1996.

Giufà e altre storie della terra di Sicilia (stories), Mondadori (Milan, Italy), 1996.

Scicilia isola-cosmo: conversazione con Giuseppe Bonaviri, Longo (Ravenna, Italy), 1998.

(With wife, Giuseppina Bonaviri) E il verde ramo oscilló : fiabe di folli, P. Manni (Lecce, Italy), 1999.

Poemillas españoles ed altri loughi, P. Manni (Lecce, Italy), 2000.

Gifuà e Gesù: fiaba teatrale in due parti, La Cantinella (Catania, Sicily), 2001.

Bonaviri inedito (collected works), selected by Sarah Zappulla Muscarà and Enzo Zappulla, La Cantinella (Catania, Sicily), 2001.

Il vicolo blu, Sellerio (Palermo, Italy), 2003.

I cavalli lunari (poems), Libri Scheiwiller (Milan, Italy), 2004.

Work represented in anthologies, including Contemporary Italian Fiction, Griffon House (Whitestone, NY), 1988, and Name and Tears and Other Stories: Forty Years of Italian Fiction, Graywolf Press (Saint Paul, MN), 1990.

SIDELIGHTS: Although he is a prolific writer of novels, stories, poems, and plays, perhaps the most interesting aspect of Giuseppe Bonaviri's career is that he attended medical school and became a cardiologist, practicing medicine for most of his adult life. It was not until what critics consider Bonaviri's "middle period" of writing that his works were heralded as masterpieces of twentieth-century fiction.

Bonaviri's works are diverse. During the 1970s, his fourth novel, Notti sull'altura, centers upon a dead man's relatives as they hunt the "bird of death" in the Sicilian wilderness. His 1975 work La beffària has been called a humorous combination of reason and fancy, while L'enorme tempo contains the more somber recollections of a young medical student. By the end of the decade Bonaviri's poetry collection Il dire celeste e altre poesie was published. Thomas G. Bergin, a reviewer in World Literature Today, stated that "the imagery" of the collection of poems "is colorful," and "the lines have a notable nervous energy."

During the 1980s Bonaviri wrote L'incominciamento. G.P. Biasin, a reviewer in World Literature Today, called the complex interweaving of prose and verse "a true tour de force into the collective memory of the small town of Mineo," and added that "both prose and poetry bestow a fabulous quality." Vinno Rossi, a reviewer for World Literature Today, called Bonaviri's E'un rosseggiar di peschi e d'albiocochi, a novel about life in India, "well written." Turning his attention from the beauty of nature to the more philosophical examination of consciousness and awareness, Bonaviri wrote Il dormiveglia: Sicilia-Luna-New York in 1988. Cecilia Ross, a reviewer for World Literature Today, commented that the novel scrutinizes that "period between the full consciousness of reality and the world of dreams." She went on to praise the work as a "fascinating novel."

Bonaviri's 1978 novel Dolcissimo, which was translated into English in 1990, involves a protagonist who returns to his Sicilian birthplace after a prolonged absence. He finds that many locals have mysteriously disappeared and he can only uncover the reason by attaining a higher consciousness. A Publishers Weekly critic praised Bonaviri's "rarefied spiritual poetics." Returning to the island of Sicily as his setting almost two decades later, Bonaviri penned Silvinia. The story of a baker's daughter, Silvinia, and her mysterious disappearance, Silvinia touches upon contemporary realism yet, according to World Literature Today contributor Giovanni D'Angelo, is also imbued by its author with "vitality and lustrous ornamentation." The critic called Bonaviri "a true master of poetic realism that occasionally touches on fantasy."



Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 177: Italian Novelists since World War II, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1997.

Muscarà, Sarah Zappulla, and Roberto Bertoni, Minuetto con Bonaviri (criticism), Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland), 2001.


Booklist, February 1, 1973, Emilie L. Perillo, review of Notti sull'altura, p. 511; January 1, 1978, Sylvia S. Goldberg, review of La beffària, p. 616; February 15, 1978, Sylvia S. Goldberg, p. 990.

Publishers Weekly, August 31, 1990, Penny Kaganoff, review of Dolcissimo, p. 60.

World Literature Today, winter, 1981, Thomas G. Bergin, review of Il dire celeste e altre poesie, p. 82; winter, 1985, G.P. Biasin, review of L'incominciamento, pp. 76-77; winter, 1988, Vinno Rossi, review of E'un rosseggiar di peschi e d'albiocochi, p. 112; summer, 1989, Cecilia Ross, review of Ghigò, p. 691; spring, 1998, Giovanni d'Angelo, review of Silvinia, pp. 347-348.

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Bonaviri, Giuseppe 1924–

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