Claudio Magris: “My legacy at the Vieusseux”

by time news

Between the hundreds of adjectives that in over half a century have accompanied and described Claudio Magris – intellectual, writer, essayist, signature of Corriere della Sera, Germanist, politician, screenwriter, translator, academic, bridge between multiple cultures, but the list would be endless – perhaps there was one guilty underestimated: Claudio Magris is a great romantic. Not in a literary sense. Strictly speaking. «You know how it is born Danube? ” He asks, smiles, pauses, waits for the most obvious answer which would be “for the boundless passion for that territory and that culture”. It is not so. “Me and Marisa (Madieri, his wife and writer, who passed away in 1996, ed) we were at the gates of Slovakia on an enchanting day immersed in the splendor of the grass and with the sound of the water next to us. When we see a plaque: “Danube Museum” and in that moment we realized that we were like two lovers sitting on a bench who discover they are part of a museum dedicated to love on the benches. Marisa looks at me and says: and if we went on as far as the Black Sea? ». So it was. 35 years have passed since the release of that collection of short stories, his masterpiece. Much more water has passed under the bridges: Central European and Eastern Jewish literature, the Strega Prize for Microcosmi, the gaze of an intellectual end on an ever-expanding universe of interests. A universe that now becomes a Florentine heritage: Magris has donated his infinite archive, his and his wife’s books, to the Gabinetto Vieusseux (tomorrow the ceremony in Palazzo Vecchio). “I don’t even know how many there are. About seventy meters of books ». He measures them in meters, the books. From so many who are.

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Why are you donating everything to the Vieusseux, Professor Magris? You are from Trieste-Turin. Why Florence?


«I consider it one of the most important prizes of my life, to be welcomed in the Vieusseux. But the credit for this beautiful idea goes to Gloria Manghetti and Ernestina Pellegrini. Yours is a recidivist city in the attention towards me: two years ago they also organized a beautiful party with the Keys of the city. I’m speechless”.

What said by a writer …

«In Florence I found an academic world and not just made up of people like Giuseppe Bevilacqua and Maria Fancelli, with whom we shared fundamental experiences. With which I discovered a “common music” and it is from that feeling that the books are born. Sometimes I feel like those stray dogs of MonUncle of Tati who go around Paris without knowing where and why, but they have a clear feeling that this is the right direction ».

What do we find in these seventy meters of book stock?

«All works of primary literature with their translations: Danube he had even forty, even in Japanese and Korean. The texts of fiction, criticism, theater, many essays. The two geographical areas of reference are Mittleuropa and the Eastern Jewish world. And some curiosities like a simple banal shell that once gave me the inspiration for a piece on the Corriere della Sera. We always start from objects to write a story. All my books were born without knowing where I wanted to go. I usually find out halfway through. When I wrote The Hapsburg myth at a certain point I realized that I had entered a literature that did not concern only the old empire of Franz Joseph but a great literature of disorder. Inferences about a saber (Garzanti) was born from a small study on the mystery of the death of the Cossack Krasnov (ally of the Nazis, ed) after the fall of the Third Reich: in one piece for the Courier service about him I realized that I had used so many subjunctives and conditionals that perhaps a part of me wanted to believe more in mythology than in truth. Because the most interesting part is not so much what men have done in their lives, but what they wanted to do with it. I proposed this story to Borges, he touched my hand and said: no, it’s yours. And so the first story was born. And the awareness that yes, the truth is more bizarre than fiction ».

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Which of the many is the book that brings you closest to your soul, the one that leaves you with the most pain in Florence?

“Besides Danube? AND Another sea, because it is the story of those who seek life and precisely because they seek it they cannot live it ».

She and Florence. We also tell this love story.

“Even if Maria Fancelli always reproaches me for the scarce presence of Tuscany as the landscape of my writings … She was born at 16: there was a friend of mine who was the representative for the Vallecchi publishing house, that of Lorenzo Viani, Cicognani, Pratolini , all fundamental authors for me, and took 10% of the sales. I convinced him to be his sub-representative: I would have 5% on every book sold. But I only managed to sell one and a half “.

In what sense “half a book”, professor?

“I managed to sell two: one was The banquet of Plato, the other was entitled The Huns in Tuscany: I was asked by a Trieste lawyer who was intrigued because according to him the Huns had never arrived in Tuscany. But after two days he gave it back to me and asked the money back: he was outraged that it was a metaphor, the Huns were the Nazis. ”

Another city of the heart is Pistoia …

“Because my grandfather Sebastiano, who before the war had moved to Trieste, which was part of old Austria but had retained Italian citizenship, had to leave in 1915 with the outbreak of the war and moved with his family to Pistoia. So my father went to high school there and he remained tied to Pistoia all his life, so much so that some friends from Pistoia even gave me his high school history report cards. And then recently with the Ceppo Award it was another great honor ».

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© Time.News

November 24, 2021 | 07:17

© Time.News

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