Da Verona, Guido

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DA VERONA, GUIDO (1881–1939), Italian novelist. Da Verona sought to disguise his origin by changing his "Jewish" surname, Verona, to the more aristocratic Da Verona. His novels met with great success in the years which preceded and immediately followed World War i: he sold more than two million copies of his novels, thus becoming the harbinger of the new phenomenon of mass literature in Italy. Influenced by Gabriele d'Annunzio, Da Verona copied his prose style and dandyish ways; his stories are based on erotic themes, pervaded with an aestheticism in which he endeavored to create environments which were aristocratic, morbid, or exotic; hedonism and contempt for bourgeois morals satisfied the tastes of a large public whom he wished to please.

His best-known novels include Colei che non si deve amare (1911); La vita comincia domani (1912; Life begins Tomorrow, 1923); Mimì Bluette, fiore del mio giardino (1916; Mimi Bluette, 1929), his best book; Sciogli le treccie, Maria Maddalena (1920); and Mata Hari (1927). In 1930 he published a parody of Alessandro Manzoni's masterpiece I promessi sposi (The Betrothed), in which one can recognize an implicit, but clear, satire of the Fascist régime. Progressively abandoned by his readers, victim of the anti-Jewish campaign of the late 1930s, he committed suicide.

add. bibliography:

A. Arslan Veronese, "Guido da Verona," in: Dizionario critico della letteratura italiana (1986); T. Achilli, "Guido da Verona," in: G. De Donato and V. Gazzola-Stacchini (eds.), I best seller del ventennio. Il regime e il libro di massa (1991).

[Giorgio Romano /

Alessandro Guetta (2nd ed.)]