|Achille Campanile (1899-1977)
Achille Campanile was born in Rome on 28th September 1899. Even if some significant biographies state he was born in 1900, various authoritative documents fix his birth in 1899. And it was probably his peculiar coquetry to make him reduce or grow his age.
He started writing when he was very young. He started as a journalist at the Tribuna and Idea Nazionale, and then at Travaso, in the middle of Fascism. He went on writing his first plays such as Tragedie in due battute, where a passion for puns and surrealism is prevailing. Enthusiastic praises but also bitter criticism followed the earlier performances of L’amore fa fare questo e altro in 1930. Then he approached to the novel as a way of narrating that best suited to him, and wrote many novels from Ma che cos’è quest’amore to Chiarastella, from La moglie ingenua e il marito malato to L’eroe; he also wrote various collections of short stories. Before their publication many of his stories appeared on the most important newspapers such as La Stampa, Gazzetta del Popolo, Milano Sera.
He won Premio Viareggio twice, in 1933 with Cantilena all’angolo della strada and forty years later with Manuale di conversazione. Campanile used to work very hard, sometimes till late in the night. He used to write by hand, developing the notes he took on different pieces of paper, even on bus tickets (and his pockets were full of notes).
He lived in Rome and Milan, but he spent his last years in Lariano, near Velletri, to please his wife Pinuccia and his son Gaetano. There Campanile took off his monocle and smart clothes, grew a long and flowing beard, so looking like an old patriarch. He went on writing so much that he filled the shelves of his study with unpublished stories, novels, and works. The achievement of a literary approval, that today is completely fulfilled, was labourious; in fact he was a reluctant man, not at all interested in taking part in the literary chronicles.
He died in Lariano on 4th January 1977, bequeathing his various works, and, in particular, the immortality of his humour.