Zanzotto, Andrea 1921-

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ZANZOTTO, Andrea 1921-

PERSONAL: Born October 10, 1921, in Pieve di Soligo, Italy; son of Giovanni (a miniature and landscape painter) and Carmela Zanzotto; married, 1959; wife's name, Marisa; children: Giovanni, Fabio. Education: University of Padua, laureate in literature, 1942.

ADDRESSES: Home—Pieve di Soligo, Italy. Agent—c/o Mondadori, Via Mondadori 1, Segrate, Milan 20090 Italy.

CAREER: Poet, translator, and literary critic, 1951—. Traveled and worked at menial jobs in France and Switzerland, late 1940s. Elementary school teacher and administrator in Pieve di Soligo, Italy, c. 1948-75.

AWARDS, HONORS: San Babila prize, 1950; Premio Saint-Vincent, 1950, for Dietro il paesaggio; Premio Viareggio, 1979; honoris causa degree, University of Venice, 1982; Premio Librex-Montale for poetry, 1983, for Fosfeni; Premio Feltrinelli, Accademia dei Lincei, 1987, for poetry; prize of the city of Münster, for European poetry and its translations, 1993; Premio di poesia Pandolfo, 1998.


Dietro il paesaggio, Mondadori (Milan, Italy), 1951.

Elegia e altri versi, Meridiana (Milan, Italy), 1954.

Vocativo, Mondadori (Milan, Italy), 1957, revised edition, 1981.

IX Ecloghe, Mondadori (Milan, Italy), 1962.

Sull'altopiano: Racconti e prose, 1942-1954, Neri Pozza (Venice, Italy), 1964.

La beltà, Mondadori (Milan, Italy), 1968.

Gli sguardi i fatti e senhal, Bernardi (Pieve di Soligo, Italy), 1969.

A che valse? Versi, 1938-1942, Scheiwiller (Milan, Italy), 1970, enlarged edition published as Poesie, 1938-1972, edited by Stefano Agosti, Mondadori (Milan, Italy), 1973, 2nd enlarged edition published as Poesie, 1938-1986, edited by Giorgio Luzzi, L'Arzanà (Turin, Italy), 1987.

Pasque, Mondadori (Milan, Italy), 1973.

Selected Poetry, edited and translated by Ruth Feldman and Brian Swann, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1975.

Filò: per il Casanova di Fellini, Ruzante (Venice, Italy), 1976, revised edition published as Filò e altre poesie, Lato Side (Rome, Italy), 1981, 2nd revised edition published as Filò, Mondadori (Milan, Italy), 1988, translation by John P. Welle and Ruth Feldman published as Peasants Wake for Fellini's Casanova and Other Poems, University of Illinois Press (Urbana, IL), 1997.

Il galateo in bosco, Mondadori (Milan, Italy), 1978.

Circhi e cene/Circuses and Suppers (bilingual edition), translated by Beverly Allen, Plain Wrapper (Verona, Italy), 1979.

Mistieròi Poemetto dialettale veneto, Castaldi (Feltre, Italy), 1979.

(Author of introduction) Franco Fortini, Una obbedienza: 18 poesie 1969-1979, San Marco dei Giustiniani (Genoa, Italy), 1980.

(Editor, with Nico Naldini) Pasolini: Poesie e pagine ritrovate, Lato Side (Rome, Italy), 1980.

Fosfeni, Mondadori (Milan, Italy), 1983.

Idioma, Mondadori (Milan, Italy), 1986.

Opere, Volume 1, Mondadori (Milan, Italy), 1987, 2nd edition, 1998.

Racconti e prose, Mondadori (Milan, Italy), 1990.

Fantasie di avvicinamento, Mondadori (Milan, Italy), 1991.

Aure e disincanti: nel Novecento letterario, Mondadori (Milan, Italy), 1994.

Sull'altopiano e prose varie, Pozza (Vicenza, Italy), 1995.

Lievi voci, api inselvatichite, with photographs by Guido Piacentini, Stamperia Bentivoglio (Bologna, Italy), 1995.

Meteo, Donzelli (Rome, Italy), 1996.

Il mio viaggio: poesie scelte (1987-1995), Marsilio (Venice, Italy), 1996.

Ligonàs, Premio di poesia Pandolfo (Florence, Italy), 1998.

Le poesie e prose scelte, edited by Stefano dal Bianco and Gian Mario Villalta, Mondadori (Milan, Italy), 1999.

(With Geno Pampaloni and Sandro Veronesi) Nel caldo cuore del mondo: lettere sull'Italia, Liberal libri (Florence, Italy), 1999.


Michel Leiris, Età d'uomo e Notti senza notte, Mondadori (Milan, Italy), 1966.

George Bataille, Nietzsche, il culmine e il possibile, Rizzoli (Milan, Italy), 1970.

George Bataille, La letteratura e il male, Rizzoli (Milan, Italy), 1973.

Honoré de Balzac, La ricerca dell'assoluto, Garzanti (Milan, Italy), 1975.

Honoré de Balzac, Il medico di campagna, Garzanti (Milan, Italy), 1977.

Contributor of poetry and essays to anthologies and collections, including I metodi attuali della critica in Italia, edited by Maria Corti and Cesare Segre, RAI (Turin, Italy), 1970; From Pure Silence to Impure Dialogue: A Survey of Post-War Italian Poetry, 1945-1965, edited and translated by Vittoria Bradshaw, Las Américas (New York, NY), 1971; Francesco Petrarca's Rime, edited by Guido Bezzola, Rizzoli (Milan, Italy), 1976; Pasolini: Cronaca giudiziaria, persecuzione, morte, edited by Laura Betti, Garzanti (Milan, Italy), 1977; Federico Fellini's La città delle donne, Garzanti (Milan, Italy), 1980; The New Italian Poetry: 1945 to the Present: A Bilingual Anthology, edited and translated by Lawrence R. Smith, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1981; Pier Paolo Pasolini: L'opera e il suo tempo, edited by Guido Santato, CLUEP (Padua, Italy), 1983; Naldini's Nei campi di Friuli, All'Insegna del Pesce d'Oro (Milan, Italy), 1984; and Poesia e nichilismo, Il melangolo (Genoa, Italy), 1998. Contributing writer for Federico Fellini's films Casanova, 1976, and E la nave va, 1983. Contributor to periodicals, including Verri.

SIDELIGHTS: "Andrea Zanzotto," wrote World Literature Today critic John P. Welle, "is often described as the major voice of the so-called fourth generation of modern Italian poets." Zanzotto's writing career, which began in the 1940s while the poet was serving with the Italian Resistance during World War II, "is informed by the main currents of modern European thought—the philosophy of Martin Heidegger, the psychoanalytic theory of Jacques Lacan and recent developments in linguistics, structuralism and semiotics," Welle observed.

Zanzotto has worked most of his professional life as a schoolteacher in his native town of Pieve di Soligo, and many of his poems reflect his chosen semirural lifestyle. "A creative innovator and a brilliantly inspired verbal experimenter, Zanzotto has a style, an idiom, and a timbre altogether his own," stated World Literature Today contributor G. Singh. Welle noted in the Dictionary of Literary Biography that, starting with Zanzotto's first poetry collection, Dietro il paessagio, his "native landscape provides a springboard for an exploration of inner space....The recurring symbols of sun, moon, grass, snow, mother, and child depict the flux of the seasons and the fluidity of subjectivity."

Zanzotto also creates new forms of language in order to involve the reader in the process of exploring his native country. "In Zanzotto's early works, his mastery of the materiality of language was such that standard languages were not the only system within which he worked," declared American Book Review contributor Glenn Mott. "He has used palimpsests, ideograms, hieroglyphics, and typographical layout, embracing lexical registers from the high toned lingua aulica . . . to the language of commercial media (jingles, slogans, Benetton's), scientific language from the Latin, archaisms, neologisms, and dialect. From this he has created an amusing linguistic frontier on the verge of disorder."

Perhaps Zanzotto's best-known experiment with language occurred in his collaboration with film director Federico Fellini in the film Casanova. The poet's contributions were later published under the title Filò: per il Casanova di Fellini, published in English as Peasants Wake for Fellini's Casanova and Other Poems. "Zanzotto was to write two poems in an imaginary pseudo-archaic Venetian dialect: a nursery rhyme, somewhere between a rigmarole and a lullaby," explained Guido Almansi in the Times Literary Supplement, ". . . and a litany to accompany the emergence of the head of a woman from the slimy bed of the Grand Canal." Patricia M. Gathercole in World Literature Today said of Peasants Wake, "The volume is a multilingual edition, thought-provoking in its treatment of life's mysteries and both varied and highly imaginative in its conception."



Beverly, Allen, Andrea Zanzotto: The Language of Beauty's Apprentice, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1989.

Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 128: Twentieth-Century Italian Poets, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1993, pp. 354-359.


American Book Review, January-February, 1999, Glenn Mott, "Botanist of Grammars," pp. 24, 26.

Chelsea, Volume 29, 1998, R. Watson, review of Peasants Wake for Fellini's Casanova and Other Poems, pp. 240-245.

Hudson Review, winter, 1977, Vernon Young, "Poetry Chronicle," pp. 619-630.

Library Journal, April 15, 1976, Marilyn Schneider, review of Selected Poetry of Andrea Zanzotto, p. 1024.

Publishers Weekly, May 26, 1997, review of Peasants Wake for Fellini's Casanova and Other Poems, p. 82.

Times Literary Supplement, October 31, 1975, Franco Fortini, "The Wind of Revival," p. 1308; August 18, 1978, Guido Almansi, "Verbal Folly," p. 936; October 2, 1987, Peter Hainsworth, "A Dying Race," p. 1083; February 23, 1990, Gian Luigi Beccaria and Peter Hainsworth, "The Most Recent Phase in Andrea Zanzotto's Vast Output of Poetry," p. S15.

World Literature Today, summer, 1981, F. J. Jones, review of Poesie (1938-1972), p. 455; spring, 1984, John P. Welle, review of Fosfeni, pp. 253-254; summer, 1984, John P. Welle, "From Babel to Pentecost: The Poetry of Andrea Zanzotto," pp. 377-379; summer, 1987, John P. Welle, review of Idioma, p. 434; spring, 1989, John P. Welle, review of Filò, p. 294; spring, 1990, Vinio Rossi, review of Andrea Zanzotto: The Language of Beauty's Apprentice, p. 294; winter, 1992, John P. Welle, review of Gli sguardi i fatti e senhal, p. 115; spring, 1995, Patricia M. Gathercole, review of Aure e disincanti nel Novecento letterario, p. 342; autumn, 1997, Patricia M. Gathercole, review of Peasants Wake for Fellini's Casanova and Other Poems, p. 771; autumn, 2000, G. Singh, review of Le poesie e prose scelte, p. 876.*