Vincenzo Consolo was born in Sant’Agata di Militello, near Messina, Sicily, in 1933. At the age of thirty, he published his first novel and achieved recognition as an author. In addition to novels, he has also written short stories, poems and travelogues. Today, Consolo is one of the most wellknown writers in Italy.
In his first novel, »La ferita dell’aprile« (1963; t: The wound of April) the author gives a poetic account of the events of his youth on Sicily’s Northern coast. The work met with critical acclaim in Italy and the author’s great linguistic and stylistic talents also became known here in Germany. He made a breakthrough as a popular author with his next novel »Il sorriso dell’ignoto marinaio« (1975; t: »Smile of the Unknown Mariner«, 1994). This was the first of a series of historical novels which shed light on various periods in Sicilian history. The plot is constructed around Italy’s nineteenth century war for independence. A continuous, linear narrative is discarded in favour of a fragmented, polyphonic mode more suitable to the complexities of the subject. Consolo’s way of adapting his language and style to his subject is also found in subsequent works – the parable »Retablo« (1987; t: Retablo), an allegorical love story set in eighteenth century Sicily, and in the poetic novel »Nottetempo, casa per casa« (1992; t: At night, from house to house) concerning 1920s Sicily and the rise of fascism. Using the leitmotif of melancholy, the author reveals the depths of the human psyche. In the process his language continually pushes the »limits of poetry« (»Süddeutsche Zeitung«). In his latest novel, »Lo spasimo di Palermo« (1998; t: The pain of Palermo), the writer adopts multiple voices to evoke Sicily’s history from the 1960s onward. He tells a story of Mafia murders, criminal entanglements, financial loss and the downfall of Italy’s post-war political elite. At the same time, the great stylist and moralist manages to bow »before the cultural and literary diversity of the Mediterranean« (»FAZ«).
Vincenzo Consolo has received many literary prizes in Italy, including the Premio Grinzane Cavour and the prestigious Premio Strega. He has also been given an honorary doctorate by the University of Palermo. In 1994, he was awarded the Premio Internazionale Unione Latina. Additionally, he has received honorary doctorates from the University of Palermo and the University of Rome Tor Vergata. In 2006, the University of Toronto published the volume »Reading and Writing the Mediterranean. Essays by Vincenzo Consolo.« The Sorbonne Nouvelle Press published the results of the conference titled »Vincenzo Consolo, Ethique et Écriture« in 2007. The author lives in Milan and Sicily.
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