Cordelli, Franco 1943-

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Cordelli, Franco 1943-


Born 1943, in Rome, Italy.


Agent—c/o Author Mail, RCS Rizzoli Libri SpA, Via Mecenate 91, 20138 Milan, Italy.


Writer, novelist, and playwright.


Procida (novel), Garzanti (Milan, Italy), 1973, new edition, Rizzoli (Milan, Italy), 2006.

(Editor, with Alfonso Berardinelli) Il Pubblico della poesia, Lerici (Cosenza, Italy), 1975.

Fuoco celeste (poetry), Guanda (Parma, Italy), 1976.

Il poeta postumo: manie, pettegolezzi, rancori, Lerici (Cosenza, Italy), 1978.

Le forze in campo (novel; title means "The Forces in the Field"), Garzanti (Milan, Italy), 1979.

Partenze eroiche (fiction), Lerici (Cosenza, Italy), 1980.

I puri spiriti (novel; title means "The Pure Spirits), Rizzoli (Milan, Italy), 1982.

Proprietà perduta, Guanda (Milan, Italy), 1983.

(Editor, with Giovanni Raboni) I cento romanzi stranierie, 1900-1943, Europeo (Milan, Italy), 1986.

Pinkerton (novel), Mondadori Editore (Milan, Italy), 1986, translation published by Quartet (London, England), 1990.

(With Georg Büchner) L'antipasqua (play), Mondadori Editore (Milan, Italy), 1987.

Guerre lontane (novel; title means "Distant Wars"), Einaudi (Turin, Italy), 1990.

L'Italia di mattina (novel), Leonardo (Milan, Italy), 1990.

Scipione l'italiano, Cremese (Rome, Italy), 1991.

(Editor) La mia America: antologia della letteratura Americana dal 1945 a oggi, Leonardo (Milan, Italy), 1991.

Diderot dondero: [Quattro commedie], (four plays), Edizioni Fondo Pier Paolo Pasolini (Rome, Italy), 1993.

Arancio, Sottotraccia (Salerno, Italy), 1994.

(Selector and author of introduction) Teatro moderno, Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato (Rome, Italy), 1995.

La democrazia magica: il narratore, il romanziere, lo scrittore (criticism), Einaudi (Turin, Italy), 1997.

Un inchino a terra (novel), Einaudi (Turin, Italy), 1999.

Diario del disamore, RAI ERI (Rome, Italy), 1999.

Lontano dal romanzo (novel), Le Lettere (Florence, Italy), 2002.

(With Andrea Cortellessa) Pensa alla tua liberta: il cinema di Emidio Greco (nonfiction), Falsopiano (Alessandria. Italy), 2002.

La religione del romanzo: Franco Cordelli, a cura di Enzo Di Mauro, Le Lettere (Florence, Italy), 2002.

(With Franco Cordelli) Il mondo di Francesco Savio: recensioni, 1973-1976, Falsopiano (Alessandria, Italy), 2002.

Il duca di Mantova, Rizzoli (Milan, Italy), 2004.


(With M. Miglietta Ricci) André Gide, I nutrimenti terrestri, Garzanti (Milan, Italy), 1975.

Henry James, Principessa Casamassima, Garzanti (Milan, Italy), 1975.

Lewis Carroll, Sylvie e Bruno, Garzanti (Milan, Italy), 1978.

Mark Twain, Wilson lo svitato (title means "Pudd'nhead Wilson"), Garzanti (Milan, Italy), 1979.

Virgina Woolf, Tra un atto e l'altro, Guanda (Milan, Italy), 1979.

Emile Zola, L'opera, Garzanti (Milan, Italy), 1981.

Stendahl, Armance, o alcune scene di un salotto parigino nel 1827, Garzanti (Milan, Italy), 1982.

Jacques Cazotte, Il diavolo inamorato, Einaudi (Turin, Italy), 1992.

Author of postscript to Un letto di tenebre: romanzo (title means "Lie Down in Darkness"), by William Styron, Mondadori Editore (Milan, Italy), 1983; author of introduction to L'uomo a cavallo, by Pierre Drieu la Rochelle, Guanda (Milan, Italy), 1980.


Franco Cordelli is a renowned Italian writer best known for his novels, which are often set in Rome and reflect a disconnect between memory, the present, and possibly even reality. In his first novel, Procida, the author tells the story in the form of a diary maintained by the main character. Although concerned with finding himself in the present, the diarist obsessively reflects on past events. "In Procida the present and past are intertwined and every daily event seems charged with ominous meaning," wrote a contributor to the Dictionary of Literary Biography. The writer went on to note: "The style is at once realistic, abstract, and ambiguous; the abundance of parenthetical clauses and afterthoughts reflects the maniacal temper of the protagonist."

In his second novel, Le forze in campo, which means "The Forces in the Field," Cordelli once again uses diary entries to tell the story of a retired boxer who is working as a tennis coach. Much of the novel involves a sexual incident at a party at the sports club where the boxer works. A Dictionary of Literary Biography contributor noted: "The patina of realism hides a strong mysterious force apparent in the events and, more importantly, in the neurotic make-up of the nar- rator." Writing in World Literature Today, Millicent Marcus commented that the novel "is an elaborate literary joke on both its narrator-protagonist and its readers who expect the text to yield a coherent and intelligible pattern of meaning."

Codelli's novel Pinkerton concerns a group of young Italian actors brought up in an orphanage, where they were trained in their craft. When they stage a play in Berlin, one of them is kidnapped by a terrorist organization. Several months later, a policeman is sent to interrogate the other actors. He is nicknamed "Pinkerton" by the group. Pinkerton is determined to uncover the mystery of what happened to the young actor, but he is essentially clueless in how to unravel the complex situation. The Dictionary of Literary Biography contributor wrote that the novel is "open to multiple interpretations," including commentary on "the protest movements of the 1970s" and "the terrorist groups active in Italy in the 1970s." Writing in World Literature Today, Rufus S. Crane commented: "There is symbolism everywhere; one may be at pains to discover and define it, but then one has lots of room to explore it."

Guerre lontane ("Distant Wars") revolves around the staging of the play Red Roses for Me, which is about civil unrest in Ireland. When the play is staged in Rome, however, its director, Bruno, is killed when the audience starts a melee inspired by the play's strike scene. The novel follows the reconstruction of events as written by Lorenzo, a fine-arts student hired by Bruno to report on the staging of the play. Writing in World Literature Today, Mario B. Mignone commented: "How fully we can understand our past and to what extent it remains fiction remain as questions." Mignone went on to write: "In the final analysis, Guerre lontane deals with the ambiguities and the duplicities not only of individual conscience but also of literature."

Cordelli focuses on Italian society in his novel Un inchino a terra. The protagonist, Clemente, is celebrating his fiftieth birthday by attending a number of extravagant parties. The author uses these parties to reveal both the changes in Italian life and the modern decadent society. "The author interweaves the present and the past of postwar Italy by shifting back and forth between the two time periods, as embodied in his principal character's experiences," wrote Domenico Maceri in World Literature Today. Maceri also noted: "Cordelli's novel is interesting with its matter-of-fact style."



Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 196: Italian Novelists since World War II, 1965-1995, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1999.


Booklist, July 1, 1981, Sylvia S. Goldberg, review of Le forze in campo, p. 1389.

Times Literary Supplement, February 1, 1991, Savkar Altinel, review of Pinkerton, p. 11.

World Literature Today, spring, 1980, Millicent Marcus, review of Le forze in campo, p. 266; spring, 1987, Rufus S. Crane, review of Pinkerton, p. 264; summer, 1991, Mario B. Mignone, review of Guerre lontane, p. 468; summer, 2000, Domenico Maceri, review of Un inchino a terra, p. 658.

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Cordelli, Franco 1943-

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