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Alberto Moravia   (1907-1990)

Alberto Moravia was born on November 28, 1907 into a wealthy Jewish family. As a young child he mastered the English, German and French languages and was drawn to Humanistic studies in general. At the age of nine, Moravia was struck with tuberculosis of the bone and was bedridden for much of his childhood. To compensate for his loneliness he turned to literature. During this time he studied, Joyce, Moliere, Shakespeare, Boccaccio, among others. He found literature to be captivating and took to writing himself, producing some of the most controversial literature in Italy. His writings were considered controversial because he rejected his bourgeois family background and developed a political atmosphere that drove him into a hatred of fascism. Moravia's first novel, Gli Indifferenti was published in 1925, when he was only eighteen; it was published during the signing of the Pact of Vidoni Palace between the representatives of the fascist corporations and General Confederation of Industry. This was the first step the Fascists took to reorganize political and economic life. Because Moravia's novel was published during the fascist reign, he called attention to his writings due to his anti-fascist outlook. His book was an instant success because the Italian public was growing tired of fascist art and wanted to experience new forms of artistic expression. Moravia's different writing style brought him instant success and fame, however, his strong voice against Italian life, the bourgeois and the fascist regime would haunt him for the rest of his life.
In 1935, he published Le Ambizionui Sbagliate. During this time Mussolini controlled the press and did not allow the newspapers to critique the novel. Later, Moravia was not allowed to sign his works except with a nom de plume. He lived in constant fear of arrest because of his belief system and writing style. In 1941 he married writer Elsa Morante: the two continually ran from Mussolini and his fascist regime. The couple was forced to flee to Fondi, a small town in the Ciociara region, hiding for nine months in a pigsty. Although the couple was placed in a terrifying, dirty situation, Moravia was able to compose La Ciociara as a depiction of the horror the couple witnessed. La Ciociara was later made into a successful film starring famous Italian actress, Sophia Loren. When the war ended, Moravia and his wife moved back to Rome. He was finally able to write freely and worked as a novelist, journalist and film critic for L'Espresso, a popular Italian magazine. When fascism fell, his works became openly published. In his time he wrote thirty books, twelve novels, ten short stories, several plays and a collection of critical and autobiographical essays. After the war Moravia's reputation became world wide and his works were translated into most major languages.

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