Siciliano, Enzo 1934-2006

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SICILIANO, Enzo 1934-2006

OBITUARY NOTICE—

See index for CA sketch: Born May 27, 1934, in Rome, Italy; died June 9, 2006. Critic, editor, and author. One of Italy's most respected literary critics and authors, Siciliano wrote award-winning novels but later met with controversy as the unsuccessful head of the network RAI. After attending Nazarene College and the University of Rome in the 1950s, he found work as a philosophy teacher and then worked briefly for RAI. His true aspiration was to become a writer, however, and he became a literary critic for Turin's La Stampa from 1969 to 1977. Writing about everything from opera and poetry to movies, Siciliano was a respected author of literary criticism. He went on to serve as editor of the journal Nuovi Argomenti, beginning in 1972, and was the critic for Corriere della Sera, a theater critic for Epoca from 1982 to 1985, and literary critic for L'Espresso after that. As an author who wrote plays, essays, and poems, Siciliano was most lauded for his novels. He won the Viareggio Prize for La principessa e l'antiquario (1980), and the Strega Prize, Italy's most prestigious book prize, for I bei momenti (1997). In the United States, however, he was better known for Pasolini: A Biography (1982), since it was one of his few works available in English. An intellectual by any measure, Siciliano was tapped in 1996 to head the broadcasting company RAI, which was once a government-run operation. Seeing this as an opportunity to raise television standards, Siciliano tried to eliminate popular game shows and other less intellectual fare in favor of opera broadcasts and similar programming. Ratings plunged, and Siciliano ended up leaving RAI after a year and a half. He returned to his forte of writing criticism and producing books, most recently publishing the highly acclaimed novel Non entrare nel campo degli orfani (2002). Among his many other accomplishments was his three-volume study of Italian literature, La letteratura italiana (1986-88).

OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Times (London, England), July 15, 2006, p. 81.