Doni, Rodolfo 1919–

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Doni, Rodolfo 1919–

PERSONAL: Born Rodolfo Turco, March 20, 1919, in Pistoia, Tuscany, Italy; name legally changed; married c. 1950; children: more than three. Religion: Roman Catholic.

ADDRESSES: Home—Spallanzani 2, Florence, Italy.

CAREER: Writer and businessperson. Worked in banking in Florence, Italy, after 1950; Mediocredito Toscano (bank), Florence, director until 1980. Party secretary to Christian Democrats, Pistoia, Italy, c. late 1940s.

AWARDS, HONORS: Premio Campiello; Premio Ceppo; Premio Palazzeschi; Premio Castiglioncello; Premio Castellammare; selection prize (Naples, Italy), 1978; Premio Basilicata, 1993, for Un filo de voce.


Società anonima (novel; title means "The Giant Corporation"), Landi (Florence, Italy), 1957.

Sezione Santo Spirito (novel; title means "The Santo Spiritual Branch"), Vallecchi (Florence, Italy), 1959.

Fuori gioco, Vallecchi (Florence, Italy), 1962.

Faccia a faccia, Casini (Florence, Italy), 1964.

La provocazione (novel), Vallecchi (Florence, Italy), 1967.

I numeri (novel; title means "The Power of Numbers"), Vallecchi (Florence, Italy), 1969.

Passaggio del fronte: diario di un cinquantenne (novel; title means "Crossing the Front"), Vallecchi (Florence, Italy), 1971.

La strade della città: diario di un cinquantenne (novel; title means "City Streets"), Vallecchi (Florence, Italy), 1973.

Muro d'ombra (novel; title means "A Wall of Darkness"), Rusconi (Milan, Italy), 1974.

Giorno segreto (novel; title means "A Secret Day"), Rusconi (Milan, Italy), 1976.

Dialogo sull'Aldilà: con il figlio Lorenzo, Giunti (Florence, Italy), 1978.

Se no, no (novel; title means "Otherwise It's No Go"), Rusconi (Milan, Italy), 1978.

Ultimatum alla coscienza: diario di un anno sconvolgente, Logos (Rome, Italy), 1978.

La doppia vita (novel; title means "The Double Life"), Rusconi (Milan, Italy), 1980.

Ritratti, Ferrero (Naples, Italy), 1980.

Il senatore Mazzoni (novel), Rusconi (Milan, Italy), 1981.

Servo inutile (novel; title means "Useless Servant"), Rusconi (Milan, Italy), 1982.

Memoria per un figlio (novel; title means "Notes for My Son"), Rusconi (Milan, Italy), 1983.

Legame profondo (novel; title means "Deep Bond"), Rusconi (Milan, Italy), 1984.

Medijugorje: l'avventura di un incredulo di fronte al miracolo (novel), Rusconi (Milan, Italy), 1985.

La città sul monte (novel; title means "City on a Hill"), Rusconi (Milan, Italy), 1986.

Le grandi domande: interrogativi sull'universo secondo la scienza, la filosofia e la fede, Rusconi (Milan, Italy), 1987.

Altare vuoto (novel; title means "A Bare Altar"), Vallecchi (Florence, Italy), 1989.

I popolari (novel; title means "Missing the Popular Party"), Vallecchi (Florence, Italy), 1990.

I duelli di Ignazio. I folli. La povera Gemma (plays; titles mean "Ignatius' Duels," "God's Fools," and "The Poor Gemma"), Massimo (Milan, Italy), 1991.

Colloquio con Lorenzo (diary), Ares (Milan, Italy), 1992.

Un filo di voce (novel; title means "A Mere Whisper"), Mondadori (Milan, Italy), 1993.

Premio letterario (novel; title means "Literary Prize"), Ares (Milan, Italy), 1994.

Il presidente e il filosofo (novel; title means "The President and the Philosopher"), introduction by Geno Pampaloni, San Paolo (Milan, Italy), 1995.

La vita aperta: romanzo di un'epoca (novel: title means "An Open Life"), Società Editrice Internazionale (Turin, Italy), 1995.

La fatica della storia (novel), Ares (Milan, Italy), 1998.

La tua mano: confessioni di uno scrittore, Paoline (Milan, Italy), 2000.

Agostino: l'infaticabile ricercatore della verità, Paoline (Milan, Italy), 2000.

Francesco d'Assisi: il santo dell'amore e della poesia (biography), afterword by Claudio Leonardi, Paoline (Milan, Italy), 2001.

Storia di Elsa, Messaggerie di Padua (Padua, Italy), 2002.

SIDELIGHTS: Rodolfo Doni "initiated the genre of the political novel of postwar Italian politics by exploring the position of the discontented insider active in the Catholic party," according to Umberto Mariani, writing in the Dictionary of Literary Biography. A prolific novelist began publishing in the 1950s, Doni has written on the themes of politics and moral convictions. He came about these concerns honestly as someone whose upbringing and childhood friendship with a Roman Catholic priest profoundly influenced how he viewed Fascist-era Italy as a young man. World War II prevented him from attending university, and his distaste for fascism led Doni to fight for the Allies after Italy signed an armistice in 1943. With the war over, he found a job in banking while pursuing interests in politics and writing. Doni joined the Christian Democrats, becoming party secretary in the province of Pistoia, but by 1950 he was growing weary of politics and decided to focus on raising a family, his banking career, and his writing. As he began to get published, he used the name Doni instead of his birth surname, Turco, to keep his business and literary life. After a few years, however, he changed his name legally to Doni, and the two aspects of his life merged.

Doni's early works, as Mariani related, address such topics as "the experience of the war; the world of politics; the workplace; the microcosm of the family and the difficult relationships between spouses, aging parents, and children." These subjects are tied together by several themes, including "the need to make a choice, to risk 'crossing the front' in order to fight on the right side; the figure of the progressive young Catholic eager to participate in the reconstruction of the country and the establishment of a new political system and a new society in accordance with his religious convictions, who meets with many disappointments; the differences between the old and the new generation of 'Catholic' politicians; the difficulty of family relationships." Among Doni's early fiction along these lines are Società anonima and I numeri.

As Doni matured, he developed a writing style that fused the genres of novel and diary, and by the 1970s and 1980s he was releasing such notable novels as Muro d'ombra, Giorno segreto, Se no, no, and La doppia vita. As Mariani noted, critics regard those novels with distinctly religious themes, Servo inutile, Legame profondo, and Medijugorje: l'avventura di un incredulo di fronte al miracolo, as marking the epitôme of Doni's career. This period also produced Memoria per un figlio, which focuses on a father's love and concern for his son. When Doni lost his own son in 1990 to an automobile accident, the author kept a diary of his thoughts, which he published as Colloquio con Lorenzo in 1992.

Since the 1990s, Doni's writings have become increasingly preoccupied with the themes of religion and the problem of human suffering, ideas heavily influenced by the author's profound Catholic faith. This focus can be seen in such novels as Un filo di voce and Il presidente e il filosofo.



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

Mariani, Umberto, and Franco Zangrilli, editors, Invito alla lettura di Rodolfo, two volumes, Vallecchi (Florence, Italy), 1989.


Booklist, September 15, 1993, Sylvia S. Goldberg, review of Un filo di voce, p. 133.

Canadian Journal of Italian Studies, 1988, Franco Zangrilli, "Incontro con Rodolfo Doni" (interview), pp. 191-195.