Elsa Morante

Elsa Morante

  • Italy

Elsa Morante, one of the best-known writers in Italy, was born in Rome in 1912 to a Jewish teacher from Modena who was married at the time to Hugo Gusto Morante, an educator and municipal official. She went to school only at the age of ten, and after graduating from high school at about the age of 18, she began her university studies at the Faculty of Humanities. She stopped her studies due to financial difficulties and began to make a living by giving private lessons. In 1936 she met author Alberto Moravia and married him in 1941. She began to write short stories that appeared in various journals. Her first book, The Secret Game, a collection of short stories, was published in 1941. In 1942, she published a children’s book called The Wonderful Adventures of Cathari with the Thin Braid. At the end of World War II, Moravia was accused of anti-Fascist activity and the couple was forced to flee to the Cassino region of southern Italy. This area appears in many of her works. She began to translate the works of Katherine Mansfield, whose influence was evident in Morante’s later work. In 1947, with the assistance of Natalia Ginzburg, she gave a publisher her first novel, False Witchcraft, which was published in 1948. In 1957, the novel Arturo’s Island was published, which won her the Strega Prize. The collection The Andalusian Scarf was published in 1963. In 1974, her most famous novel History was published in 1974. It is an historical novel dealing with Rome during World War II.  Aracoeli which was published in 1982 was her last book. She passed away in 1985. Elsa Morante is one of the best-known writers in the world, and in Italy the Elsa Morante Award is awarded annually.


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