• The Political Prisoner

Two novellas amount to Cesare Pavese's most profound and poetic reflections on the concept of Freedom.

The Political Prisoner

With its autobiographical roots in Pavese's own arrest and imprisonment in Calabria in 1935 for his anti-fascist writings, this is the story of Stefano, an anti-fascist who has served a prison sentence and is banished to a remote southern Italian seaside resort. There he awaits an official pardon and must report each day to a warden. Naturally he contemplates the 'invisible walls of his cell' and what it means to be imprisoned. When the summer ends and Stefano can no longer distract himself with swimming and lying on the seashore, his life becomes even more vapid, his relationships pointless. Perhaps, he muses, all life is living in imprisonment, imposed or self-imposed, a slave to something or someone.

The Beautiful Summer

When a sixteen-year-old Ginia falls under the spell of an artist's model, she is introduced to a world of painters, nude modelling, sexual experimentation and romantic despair. Gradually she comes to see through the glamour to the futility and callousness of so-called bohemian 'freedom'.

Translated from the Italian by W.J. Strachan
With a new foreword by Nick Johnstone
‘He [Pavese] brings to each scene of natural beauty the strain of the fresh eye of a person who sees these things as for the last time and to say goodbye … The flavour of anarchy this author distils in each setting is quite remarkable.’ – Stevie Smith, Observer
‘Typical in its uneasy searching for a standard of personal values, of the doubts of those Italian writers who at first opposed Fascism and then effected an unhappy compromise with it … there is never any doubt of Pavese's talent.’ – Times
‘Pavese writes with a vivid quietude that is always engaging.’ – Guardian


CESARE PAVESE (1908–1950) was born in the Italian region of Piedmont. Now considered one of Italy’s most distinctive writers, he was unable to publish his creative writing during the fascist era and instead channelled his energies into translating the work of some of the greatest English-language writers into Italian. He was imprisoned by the government in 1935 – inspiring his novel The Political Prisoner – and lived with the partisans from 1943 to 1945. The bulk of his work – stories, poems and novels – appeared between 1945 and his suicide in 1950.
Bibliographic Data
Date Published 11th August 2007
ISBN Number 9780720612622
Pages 256

The Political Prisoner

  • £9.95


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Tags: Fiction in Translation, Italian Literature, W.J. Strachan, pavese, italy, novels italy, political novels, novellas, collections