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Self reflection with Cesare Pavese

Wednesday, 6 November, 2013

On 27 August 1950, Cesare Pavese committed suicide in the hotel Roma in Turin by swallowing barbiturates. His book, Dialoghi con Leucò, lay on the bedside table with the following annotation on the first page: “I forgive all and ask everyone’s forgiveness. OK? Don’t gossip too much.” He was just 42 years old. Given the number of beautiful women who attended his funeral, there was lots of gossip.

Born in the village of Santo Stefano in the Piedmont, Cesare Pavese is considered one of Italy’s most important 20th-century writers, and one of the saddest. The protagonists in his novels are loners, managing only superficial relationships. Unrequited love was also the hallmark of his own life. Pavese’s diaries were published in English under the title, The Burning Brand: Diaries 1935-1950.

6 November 1939: “I spent the whole evening sitting before a mirror to keep myself company.” Cesare Pavese

Tomorrow, here, Maurice Collis notes down George Bernard Shaw’s last words as recalled by Lady Astor, who once scolded Stalin, “Your regime is no different from the Czars.”


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