Curzio Malaparte

Curzio Malaparte (Italian pronunciation: [ˈkurtsjo malaˈparte]; 9 June 1898 – 19 July 1957), born Kurt Erich Suckert, was an Italian writer, film-maker, war correspondent and diplomat. Malaparte is best known outside Italy due to his works Kaputt (1944) and La pelle (1949). The former is a semi-fictionalised account of the Eastern Front during the Second World War and the latter is an account focusing on morality in the immediate post-war period of Naples (it was placed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum).

During the 1920s, Malaparte was one of the intellectuals who supported the rise of Italian fascism and Benito Mussolini, through the magazine 900. Despite this, Malaparte had a complex relationship with the National Fascist Party and was stripped of membership in 1933 for his independent streak. Arrested numerous times, he had Casa Malaparte created in Capri where he lived under house arrest. After the Second World War, he became a film maker and moved closer to both Togliatti's Italian Communist Party and the Catholic Church (though once a staunch atheist), reputedly becoming members of both before his death.[1][2][3]

Curzio Malaparte
Curzio Malaparte



Born in Prato, Tuscany, Malaparte was a son of a German father, Erwin Suckert, a textile-manufacturing executive, and his Lombard wife,[4] the former Evelina Perelli. He was educated at Collegio Cicognini in Prato and at La Sapienza University of Rome. In 1918 he started his career as a journalist. Malaparte fought in World War I, earning a captaincy in the Fifth Alpine Regiment and several decorations for valor.

His chosen surname Malaparte, which he used from 1925, means "evil/wrong side" and is a play on Napoleon's family name "Bonaparte" which means, in Italian, "good side".

National Fascist Party

In 1922 he took part in Benito Mussolini's March on Rome. In 1924, he founded the Roman periodical La Conquista dello Stato ("The Conquest of the State", a title that would inspire Ramiro Ledesma Ramos' La Conquista del Estado). As a member of the Partito Nazionale Fascista, he founded several periodicals and contributed essays and articles to others, as well as writing numerous books, starting from the early 1920s, and directing two metropolitan newspapers.

In 1926 he founded with Massimo Bontempelli the literary quarterly "900". Later he became a co-editor of Fiera Letteraria (1928–31), and an editor of La Stampa in Turin. His polemical war novel-essay, Viva Caporetto! (1921), criticized corrupt Rome and the Italian upper classes as the real enemy (the book was forbidden because it offended the Royal Italian Army).

Technique du coup d'Etat

In Technique du coup d`Etat (1931), Malaparte set out a study of the tactics of coup d'etat, particularly focusing on the Bolshevik Revolution and that of Italian fascism. Here he stated that "the problem of the conquest and defense of the State is not a political one ... it is a technical problem", a way of knowing when and how to occupy the vital state resources: the telephone exchanges, the water reserves and the electricity generators, etc. He taught a hard lesson that a revolution can wear itself out in strategy.[5] He emphasizes Leon Trotsky's role in organising the October Revolution technically, while Lenin was more interested in strategy. The book emphasizes that Joseph Stalin thoroughly comprehended the technical aspects employed by Trotsky and so was able to avert Left Opposition coup attempts better than Kerensky.

For Malaparte, Mussolini's revolutionary outlook was very much born of his time as a Marxist. On the topic of Adolf Hitler, the book was far more doubtful and critical. He considered Hitler to be a reactionary. In the same book, first published in French by Grasset, he entitled chapter VIII: A Woman: Hitler. This led to Malaparte being stripped of his National Fascist Party membership and sent to internal exile from 1933 to 1938 on the island of Lipari.

Arrests and Casa Malaparte

He was freed on the personal intervention of Mussolini's son-in-law and heir apparent Galeazzo Ciano. Mussolini's regime arrested Malaparte again in 1938, 1939, 1941, and 1943, imprisoning him in Rome's jail Regina Coeli. During that time (1938–41) he built a house with the architect Adalberto Libera, known as the Casa Malaparte, on Capo Massullo, on the Isle of Capri.[6] It was later used as a location in Jean-Luc Godard's film Le Mépris.

Shortly after his time in jail he published books of magical realist autobiographical short stories, which culminated in the stylistic prose of Donna come me (Woman Like Me, 1940).

Second World War and Kaputt

His remarkable knowledge of Europe and its leaders is based upon his experience as a correspondent and in the Italian diplomatic service. In 1941 he was sent to cover the Eastern Front as a correspondent for Corriere della Sera. The articles he sent back from the Ukrainian Fronts, many of which were suppressed, were collected in 1943 and brought out under the title Il Volga nasce in Europa ("The Volga Rises in Europe"). The experience provided the basis for his two most famous books, Kaputt (1944) and The Skin (1949).

Kaputt, his novelistic account of the war, surreptitiously written, presents the conflict from the point of view of those doomed to lose it. Malaparte's account is marked by lyrical observations, as when he encounters a detachment of Wehrmacht soldiers fleeing a Ukrainian battlefield,

When Germans become afraid, when that mysterious German fear begins to creep into their bones, they always arouse a special horror and pity. Their appearance is miserable, their cruelty sad, their courage silent and hopeless.

as the Italian reporter, in his Kaputt World War II testimony, Malaparte described an interview with Pavelic,

While he spoke, I gazed at a wicker basket on the Poglavnik's desk. The lid was raised and the basket seemed to be filled with mussels, or shelled oysters, as they are occasionally displayed in the windows of Fortnum and Mason in Piccadilly in London. Casertano looked at me and winked, "Wouldn't you like a good oyster stew?"

"Are they Dalmatian oysters?" I asked the Poglavnik. Ante Pavelic removed the lid from the basket and revealed the mussels, that slimy and jelly-like mass, and he said smiling, with that tired good-natured smile of his, "It is a present from my loyal Ustashis. Forty pounds of human eyes."

Milan Kundera's view of the Kaputt is summarized in his essay The Tragedy of Central Europe:[7]

It is strange, yes, but understandable: for this reportage is something other than reportage; it is a literary work whose aesthetic intention is so strong, so apparent, that the sensitive reader automatically excludes it from the context of accounts brought to bear by historians, journalists, political analysts, memoirists.[8]

According to D. Moore's editorial note, in The Skin,

Malaparte extends the great fresco of European society he began in Kaputt. There the scene was Eastern Europe, here it is Italy during the years from 1943 to 1945; instead of Germans, the invaders are the American armed forces. In all the literature that derives from the Second World War, there is no other book that so brilliantly or so woundingly present triumphant American innocence against the background of the European experience of destruction and moral collapse.[9]

The book was condemned by the Roman Catholic Church, and placed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum.[10] The Skin was adapted for the cinema in 1981.

From November 1943 to March 1946 he was attached to the American High Command in Italy as an Italian Liaison Officer. Articles by Curzio Malaparte have appeared in many literary periodicals of note in France, the United Kingdom, Italy and the United States .

Film directing and later life

Tomba malaparte
Malaparte tomb on Monte Spazzavento (Prato)

After the war, Malaparte's political sympathies veered to the left and he became a member of the Italian Communist Party.[11] In 1947, Malaparte settled in Paris and wrote dramas without much success. His play Du Côté de chez Proust was based on the life of Marcel Proust and Das Kapital was a portrait of Karl Marx. Cristo Proibito ("Forbidden Christ") was Malaparte's moderately successful film—which he wrote, directed and scored in 1950. It won the "City of Berlin" special prize at the 1st Berlin International Film Festival in 1951.[12] In the story, a war veteran returns to his village to avenge the death of his brother, shot by the Germans. It was released in the United States in 1953 as Strange Deception and voted among the five best foreign films by the National Board Of Review.

He also produced the variety show Sexophone and planned to cross the United States on bicycle.[13] Just before his death, Malaparte completed the treatment of another film, Il Compagno P. After the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Malaparte became interested in the Maoist version of Communism but his journey to China was cut short by illness, and he was flown back to Rome. Io in Russia e in Cina, his journal of the events, was published posthumously in 1958. Malaparte's final book, Maledetti Toscani, his attack on middle and upper-class culture, appeared in 1956. In the collection of writings Mamma marcia, published posthumously in 1959, Malaparte writes about the youth of the post-World War II era with homophobic tones, describing it as effeminate and tending to homosexuality and communism;[14] the same content is expressed in the chapters "The pink meat" and "Children of Adam" of The Skin.[15] He died in Rome from lung cancer[16] on 19 July 1957.

Cultural Representations of Malaparte

Malaparte's colorful life has made him an object of fascination for writers. The American journalist, Percy Winner, wrote about their relationship during the fascist ventennio through the Allied Occupation of Italy, in the lightly fictionalized novel, Dario (1947) (where the main character's last name is Duvolti, or a play on "two faces). Recently, the Italian authors Rita Monaldi and Francesco Sorti published Morte Come Me (Death Like Me, 2016). Set on Capri in 1939, it gives a fictionalized account of a mysterious death in which Malaparte was implicated. There is also a restaurant in Manhattan's West Village named after the polemical writer.

Main writings

  • Viva Caporetto! (1921, aka La rivolta dei santi maledetti)
  • Technique du coup d'etat (1931) translated as Coup D'etat: The Technique of revolution, E. P. Dutton & Co., Inc., 1932
  • Donna come me (1940) translated as Woman Like Me, Troubador Italian Studies, 2006 ISBN 1-905237-84-7
  • The Volga Rises in Europe. (1943) ISBN 1-84158-096-1
  • Kaputt (1944) ISBN 0-8101-1341-4 translated as Kaputt. New York Review Books Classics, 2007
  • La Pelle. (1949) ISBN 0-8101-1572-7 translated as The Skin. by David Moore, New York Review Books Classics, 2013, ISBN 978-1-59017-622-1 (paperback)
  • Du Côté de chez Proust (1951)
  • Maledetti toscani (1956) translated as Those Cursed Tuscans, Ohio University Press, 1964
  • The Kremlin Ball (1957) translated by Jenny McPhee, 2018 ISBN 978-1681372099
  • Muss. Il grande imbecille (1999) ISBN 978-8879841771
  • Benedetti italiani postumo (curato da Enrico Falqui) (1961), edito da Vallecchi Firenze (2005), presentazione di Giordano Bruno Guerri ISBN 88-8427-074-X


See also


  1. ^ Maurizio Serra, Malaparte: vite e leggende, Marsilio, 2012, estratto
  2. ^ Senza disperazione e nella pace di Dio, Il Tempo, 20 luglio 1957.
  3. ^ "Malaparte, Curzio". Istituto dell'Enciclopedia Italiana.
  4. ^ Vegliani, Franco (1957). Malaparte. Milano-Venezia: Edizioni Daria Guarnati. p. 33. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  5. ^ Political Writings, 1953–1993 by Maurice Blanchot, Fordham Univ Press, 2010, p. xii
  6. ^ Welge, Jobst, Die Casa Malaparte auf Capri in Malaparte Zwischen Erdbeben, Eichborn Verlag 2007
  7. ^ Milan Kundera's essay 'The Tragedy of Central Europe' in La Lettre internationale 1983.
  8. ^ Impossible Country, Brian Hall, Random House, 2011
  9. ^ Casa Malaparte, Capri, Gianni Pettena, Le Lettere, 1999, p. 134
  10. ^ Casa Malaparte, Capri, Gianni Pettena, Le Lettere, 1999, p. 134
  11. ^ William Hope: Curzio Malaparte, Troubador Publishing Ltd, 2000, ISBN 9781899293223 p. 95
  12. ^ "1st Berlin International Film Festival: Prize Winners". Retrieved 20 December 2009.
  13. ^ Casa Malaparte by Marida Talamona.Princeton Architectural Press, 1992, p. 19
  14. ^ Contarini, Silvia (10 August 2013). "L'italiano vero e l'omosessuale". Nazione Indiana (in Italian). Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  15. ^ Dall'Orto, Giovanni (11 February 2005). "Pelle, La [1949]. Omosessuali = comunisti pedofili femmenelle". Cultura gay (in Italian). Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  16. ^ Time – Milestones, Jul. 29, 1957


  • Malaparte: A House Like Me by Michael McDonough, 1999, ISBN 0-609-60378-7
  • The Appeal of Fascism: A Study of Intellectuals and Fascism 1919–1945 by Alastair Hamilton (London, 1971, ISBN 0-218-51426-3)
  • Kaputt by Curzio Malaparte, E. P. Dutton and Comp., Inc., New York, 1946 (biographical note on the book cover)
  • Curzio Malaparte The Skin, Northwestern University Press, Evanston, 1997 (D. Moore's editorial note on the back cover)
  • Curzio Malaparte: The Narrative Contract Strained by William Hope, Troubador Publishing Ltd, 2000, ISBN 978-1-899293-22-3
  • The Bird that swallowed its Cage selected works by Malaparte translated by Walter Murch, Counterpoint Press, Berkeley, 2012, ISBN 1-619-02061-0.
  • European memories of the Second World War by Helmut Peitsch (editor) Berghahn Books, 1999 ISBN 978-1-57181-936-9 Chapter Changing Identities Through Memory: Malaparte's Self-figuratios in Kaputt by Charles Burdett, p. 110–119
  • Malaparte Zwischen Erdbeben by Jobst Welge, Eichborn Verlag, Frankfurt-am-Main 2007 ISBN 3-8218-4582-1
  • Benedetti italiani: Raccolta postuma, di scritti di Curzio Malaparte, curata da Enrico Falqui (1961). Ristampato da Vallecchi Editore Firenze, (2005) prefazione di Giordano Bruno Guerri, ISBN 88-8427-074-X

External links

"900", Cahiers d'Italie et d'Europe

"900", Cahiers d'Italie et d'Europe was an Italian magazine published for the first time in November 1926, directed by Massimo Bontempelli with Curzio Malaparte as co-director. Beginning as an internationalist publication, after some numbers it dramatically changed its editorial line, rallying to the nationalist, strapaesani line of the magazine Il Selvaggio.

1944 in Italy

Events from the year 1944 in Italy.

Casa Malaparte

Casa Malaparte (also Villa Malaparte) is a house on Punta Massullo, on the eastern side of the isle of Capri, Italy. It is one of the best examples of Italian modern and contemporary architecture.

The house was conceived around 1937 by the well-known Italian architect Adalberto Libera for Curzio Malaparte. Malaparte actually rejected Libera's design and built the home himself with the help of Adolfo Amitrano, a local stonemason.

Cicognini National Boarding School

The Cicognini National Boarding School is the oldest school in Prato, Italy, constructed c. 1692 through the work of the Jesuits, following the legacy of Francesco Cicognini. The institute is composed of primary and secondary schools, including the historic grammar school where Gabriele d'Annunzio and Curzio Malaparte studied.


Curzio is both a given name and a surname.

Notable people with the given name include:

Curzio Cocci (died 1621), Roman Catholic prelate

Curzio Malaparte (1898–1957), Italian writer, film-maker, war correspondent and diplomatNotable people with the surname include:

Alberto Quadrio Curzio (born 1937), Italian economist

Emilio Notti

Emilio Notte (30 January, 1891 - 7 July, 1982) was an Italian painter, active in a Futurist style.

Eugen Barbu

Eugen Barbu (Romanian pronunciation: [e.uˈd͡ʒen ˈbarbu]; 20 February 1924 – 7 September 1993) was a Romanian modern novelist, short story writer, journalist, and correspondent member of the Romanian Academy. The latter position was vehemently criticized by those who contended that he plagiarized in his novel Incognito and for the anti-Semitic campaigns he initiated in the newspapers Săptămâna and România Mare which he founded and led. He also founded, alongside his disciple Corneliu Vadim Tudor, the ultra-nationalist Greater Romania Party (PRM).His most famous writings are the novels Groapa (1957) and Principele (1969). Barbu's prose, in which the influence of neorealism has been noted, drew comparison to the works of Mateiu Caragiale, Tudor Arghezi, and Curzio Malaparte. It was however, considered unequal by several critics, who took into measure Barbu's preference for archaisms, as well as his fluctuating narrative style.Barbu also wrote several film scripts, some of which were for films starring his wife, the actress Marga Barbu (Florin Piersic's Mărgelatu series).

Geo Dumitrescu

Geo Dumitrescu (born Gheorghe Dumitrescu; May 17, 1920 – September 28, 2004) was a Romanian poet and translator.

Born in Bucharest, his parents were Vasile Oprea (who changed his name to Vasile Dumitrescu), a craftsman and owner of a small shoe store and workshop, and his wife Aurelia (née Buiculescu). From 1930 to 1939, he attended Great Voivode Mihai High School in his native city. From 1939 to 1944, he studied at the literature and philosophy faculty of Bucharest University, but did not take his graduating examination. He made his debut in December 1939, with the poem "Cântec", which appeared in Cadran magazine under the pen name Vladimir Ierunca; from 1939 to 1940, he formed part of the circle surrounding the magazine. He started and led Albatros magazine in 1941, and headed a literary group under its name from 1941 to 1943. He also headed Gândul nostru magazine in 1942, but this was shut down by the censors of the Ion Antonescu regime, as was Albatros. His first small book of poetry, Aritmetică, appeared in the pages of the latter magazine in 1941, under the pen name Felix Anadam. He was an editor at Timpul newspaper from 1942 to 1944, at the George Ivașcu-led Vremea, and from 1944 to 1950, at N. D. Cocea's Victoria. He also worked as director of the National Theater Craiova. Publications that ran his work include Prepoem, Tribuna tineretului, Curentul literar, Viața Românească, Revista Fundațiilor Regale, Veac nou, Scânteia tineretului, Tinerețea, Orizont, Tribuna poporului, Meridian and România Liberă.Under the early communist regime, he was editor and then assistant editor-in-chief of Flacăra magazine from 1947 to 1950; he then headed the Cluj-based Almanahul literar from 1950 to 1952, replacing Miron Radu Paraschivescu. From 1952 to 1953, he edited the Bicaz Zorile socialismului, a newspaper for construction workers; between 1953 and 1954, he held a similar position at Iașul nou. From 1954 to 1963, he contributed to Urzica and to Luceafărul, while at Editura Cartea Rusă, he translated Soviet lyric poetry and helped put together lyric anthologies. From 1958 to 1959, he returned to writing poetry. In 1967, he was named editor-in-chief of Gazeta literară, while from 1968 to 1970, he coordinated the first editions of România literară. In 1966, he became secretary of Romania's PEN Club. During the late 1960s, he submitted work for Contemporanul, Gazeta literară, Luceafărul, România literară, Steaua, Tribuna and Viața Românească, and managed a celebrated letters to the editor section that appeared in the first four, as well as in Flacăra.His second book, Libertatea de a trage cu pușca, appeared thanks to Petru Comarnescu in 1946, although it had been submitted to Editura Prometeu under the title Pelagra in 1943; it was awarded the prize for young writers from Editura Fundațiilor Regale. His following books appeared at substantial intervals: Aventuri lirice (1963), Nevoia de cercuri (1966); his Jurnal de campanie (1974), Africa de sub frunte (1978) and Versuri (1981) are weighty anthologies of his prior work. On the other hand, he was a prolific translator, sometimes in collaboration, of Rafael Alberti, Eduardas Mieželaitis, Romain Gary, Irving Stone and Curzio Malaparte. In 1993, following the Romanian Revolution, he was elected a corresponding member of the Romanian Academy. In 2000, his complete and definitive verse work appeared as Poezii. In 1967 and 1968, he authored an anthology of Romanian translations of Charles Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du mal, in two separate versions. He won the Romanian Writers' Union's prize in 1968 and 1999.

Gruber's Journey

Gruber's Journey or Călătoria lui Gruber is a 2008 Romanian drama film directed by Radu Gabrea. It is set in World War II during the Holocaust in Iaşi (Iași pogrom) and was shot on location in Bucharest. The film screened at the Third Annual Romanian Film Festival.

Helen Lane

Helen Lane (1921 – August 29, 2004) was an American translator of Spanish, Portuguese, French and Italian language literary works into English. She translated works by numerous important authors including Jorge Amado, Augusto Roa Bastos, Marguerite Duras, Juan Goytisolo, Mario Vargas Llosa, Curzio Malaparte, Juan Carlos Onetti, Octavio Paz, Nélida Piñon, and Luisa Valenzuela. She was a recipient of the National Book Award.


Kaputt might refer to:

Kaputt (album), by Destroyer

Kaputt (band), British band

Kaputt (novel), by Curzio Malaparte

Kaputt (software), Unit Testing framework for OCaml

L'Istituto Statale della Ss. Annunziata

L'Istituto Statale della Ss. Annunziata (English: The Ss. Annunziata Boarding School) was the first female boarding school in Florence, founded for the daughters of Marquis Gino Capponi. The Institute was created in 1823, to educate aristocratic and noble girls, under the patronage of Maria Anna of Saxony and Leopold II, Grand Duke of Tuscany. The original building was in the via della Scala, Florence. In 1865 it moved to the Villa del Poggio Imperiale overlooking Florence where it remains in situ today. The school has a Brother establishment in Prato, Collegio Cicognini where such luminaries as Curzio Malaparte and D'Annunzio attended.

The school is subdivided into a mixed Elementary, Middle, and Upper School.

The Elementary school is an Italian-German school, teaching children in Italian, German and English. The Middle school teaches children predominantly in Italian and English, with the introduction of Latin and the option of Ancient Greek.

The Upper School, which is five years, is subdivided into Scientific, Linguistic, and European Classic schools. Students start at 14 years old.

The Linguists, focusses on German, Italian and English as well as the core subjects. Whilst the Scientific, promotes the sciences; Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Geology, Philosophy, History. Whereas the European Classic, orientated towards Law, Economics, Italian, German, Ancient Greek and Latin. The boarding is still private but follows the more demanding state curriculum.

As rooms are limited within the Medici house boarding is reserved for only for approximately 80 girls. Girls come predominantly from all over Italy but nevertheless, there are few international students. Girls are called "Poggioline".

La Fiera Letteraria

La Fiera Letteraria (The Literary Fair) was a weekly Italian magazine of letters, sciences and arts. It was founded in 1925 with the subtitle "Weekly Magazine of Letters, Sciences and Arts" and was published until 1977.


Sexophone may refer to:

Sexophone (show), a variety show produced by Curzio Malaparte

Sexophone (synthesizer), a digital synthesizer created by Erkki Kurenniemi

The Forbidden Christ

The Forbidden Christ (Italian: Il Cristo proibito) is a 1951 Italian drama film directed by Curzio Malaparte.

The Skin

The Skin (Italian: La pelle) is a 1981 Italian war film directed by Liliana Cavani and starring Marcello Mastroianni, Burt Lancaster, Ken Marshall, Carlo Giuffrè and Claudia Cardinale from Curzio Malaparte's book La pelle (The Skin). It was entered into the 1981 Cannes Film Festival.

Walter Murch

Walter Scott Murch (born July 12, 1943) is an American film editor, director and sound designer. With a career stretching back to 1969, including work on Apocalypse Now, The Godfather I, II, and III, American Graffiti, The Conversation, and The English Patient, with three Academy Award wins (from nine nominations: six for picture editing and three for sound mixing), he has been referred to by Roger Ebert as "the most respected film editor and sound designer in the modern cinema."

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