1968 – Diego Valeri

“…Images of a constantly evolving world, a continuous dramatic effort to create it. Behind each of these representations, there is, in fact, an ‘aspiration’, a goal to live life not merely to survive, but to do, to create a new reality, that is, new forms of a more intense, more essential humanity…”


(Piove di Sacco, 25 January1887 – Rome, 27 November 1976) was an Italian non-fiction writer and poet.

Born into a bourgeois family, he studied literature and made his literary debut rather early, in 1913, with Monodia d’amore and Le gaie tristezze. In 1914 he attended a course at the Sorbonne in Paris and, upon his return to Italy, began his teaching career.

He taught Italian and Latin in high schools, and only distanced himself from the school system when his anti-fascist ideas caused serious problems in communicating with his pupils. During this period, he began to work for the “Sovrintendenza alle Arti di Venezia” (Venice Monuments and Fine Arts Office) which he considered to be a more nonaligned place.

While he was teaching in high schools, he was also an tireless contributor to the magazine “Nuova Antologia”, with a regular column about French literature in a section entitled “Note e Consegne”. He also published translations and numerous verses in “Nuova Antologia”, which would then go on to be reprinted under the title Umana in 1916, Crisalide in 1919 and Ariele in 1924. These short collections were then integrated into the first real collection of Valeri’s works in 1939, entitled Poesie vecchie e nuove.

In 1939, he got a languages and French literature tenureship at the University of Padua, where he then went on to obtain a full professorship in modern and contemporary history of Italian literature. He remained in this post for around twenty years, excluding the period of the Nazi occupation, from 1943 to 1945, during which he sought asylum in Switzerland as a political refugee. He did, however, continue to work as a contributor and translator for the newspapers “Gazzettino”, “Trivium”, “Lo Smeraldo” and “L’Approdo” . In 1944 he published Romanzi e racconti d’amore del Medio Evo francese, while in 1954 he published Antichi poeti provenzali e W.Goethe, Cinquanta poesi. 1959 saw the publication of Lirici tedeschi.

Valeri was also deeply committed to the cause of culture, and along with other intellectuals of the period, he set up the “Alleanza della Cultura” in 1948. In 1950, he went with Benedetto Croce to the Berlin convention, and later became a curator at Venice’s Belle Arti.

For several years, following his stay in Padua, he also lectured at the University of Lecce, which was, at the time, a private institution.

After his dismissal from the professorship, he lived in Venice and was part of the City Hall administration.

Essays and Non-fiction works:

Poeti francesi del nostro tempo, Piacenza 1924
Montaigne, Rome 1925
Scrittori francesi, Milan 1937
Saggi e note di letteratura francese moderna, Florence, 1941
Littérature français, Milan 1949
Il simbolismo francese da Nervard a De Régnier , Padua 1954
Da Racine a Picasso. Nuovi studi francesi, Florence 1956

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