Literary critic, Pietro Citati, dies aged 92

Pietro Citati

 ROCCAMARE – Essayist and Strega prize winner, Pietro Citati has died aged 92, his family said on Thursday. 

 Citati was born in Florence to a noble Sicilian family. He later moved to Turin where he attended the Massimo d’Azeglio high school. Him and his family moved to Liguria in 1942 during World War Two, where his passion for literature began to flourish. In 1951 he graduated from the University of Pisa with a degree in Modern Literature, and started contributing to magazines such as Il PuntoL’Approdo and Paragone

 A great contributor to journalism, as well as to non-fiction and literary biographies of authors, Citati was described by newspaper, Corriere della Sera as “a brilliant and versatile writer.” Among the great authors he wrote about were Manzoni, Kafka, Goethe, Leopardi, Proust, Fitzgerald, and Tolstoy which he won the Strega prize for in 1984 for the eponymous fictionalised biography on the Russian author. 

 His first essay, devoted to Goethe and published in 1970 won the Viareggio prize for Non-Fiction.

 He also dedicated a lot of his time to writing about ancient mythology, Ancient Greece and religious and philosophical systems, such as Hermeticism.

 At the end of the 80s, he successfully tried his hand at biographical fiction, publishing a family novel in 1989 that was partly inspired by the life and story of his grandparents at the beginning of the 19th century. In 1991, he won the Medici Prize for the French translation of “Histoire qui fut heureuse, puis douloureuse et funeste” (A story that was happy, then painful, and disastrous). 

 His latest book, “Dostoevsky: senza misura,” was published last year and brought together a range of texts from Russian literature, including Dostoevsky, Chalamov, Bulgakov, Chekhov, and Gogol.