Meneghello, Luigi 1922-2007

views updated

Meneghello, Luigi 1922-2007


See index for CA sketch: Born February 16, 1922, in Malo, Italy; died June 26, 2007. Educator and author. Meneghello founded the department of Italian studies at the University of Reading in England, where he taught for nearly forty years. Though the department was originally an offshoot of the English department, under Meneghello's guidance it became a center for the study of all aspects of Italian culture: literature and linguistics, history and politics, and history of the arts. This was his gift to his adopted home, which he had embraced with all his heart. Meneghello was born in the little Italian village of Malo at the very beginning of the country's Fascist era, and his education at the University of Padua and elsewhere was as Fascist as it was classical. With the collapse of the Fascist regime during World War II, Meneghello joined the Resistance movement. Years later in his book I piccoli maestri he rejected both ideologies with erudition, wit, and enthusiasm according to his followers. After the war Meneghello accepted a British Council scholarship to study in England; he became so enamored of British culture and the British people that he remained there for the rest of his career and nearly for the rest of his life. Meneghello's home in Reading became a sort of salon, a comfortable meeting place for all who savored and enjoyed discussing the best things in life: intellectual, social, athletic, scientific. For others, and despite his scholarly endeavors to promote Italian thought and culture to an English audience, the only way to explore Meneghello's milieu was to speak (or at least read) Italian. He wrote at least twenty books, all in Italian, and only I piccoli maestri was translated in his lifetime. This memoir, published in 1967 as The Outlaws, describes the author's wartime experiences in the Resistance, which by then the author had fully rejected. Several of Meneghello's other books, such as Libera nos a malo, are reflections on his background in Malo and his thoughts on language, dialect, and other things Italian. Critics praised these writings for their humor, irony, and elegance, describing them as more like novels than memoirs.



Meneghello, Luigi, Libero nos a malo, Feltrinelli (Milan, Italy), 1964.

Meneghello, Luigi, I piccoli maestri, Feltrinelli (Milan, Italy), 1964, translation published as The Outlaws, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1967.

Meneghello, Luigi, Bau-sète, Rizzoli (Milan, Italy), 1988.

Meneghello, Luigi, Il dispatrio, Rizzoli (Milan, Italy), 1993.


Times (London, England), August 1, 2007, p. 54.

About this article

Meneghello, Luigi 1922-2007

Updated About content Print Article