During one of these journeys, he found the poem "Tabacaria" tobacco shop in a bookstall near the Gare de Lyon in Paris, signed by Alvaro de Campos , one of the pen names of the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa. It was in the French translation by Pierre Hourcade. The book was a major influence on his writing life for at least twenty years. A visit to Lisbon sparked his love of the city of the fado and of that country as a whole. As a result, he graduated in with a thesis on "Surrealism in Portugal". He specialized at the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa in the seventies and in he was appointed as teacher of Portuguese Language and Literature in Bologna.
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Share via Email Antonio Tabucchi in Its mixture of pessimism and measured hope — "I have within me all the dreams of the world" — proved to be a defining moment. In addition to his fictional writing, Tabucchi translated Pessoa and other Portuguese writers into Italian and decided to live half the year in Portugal. This immersion into another culture and language has evoked comparisons with Joseph Conrad , whose work Tabucchi admired. After his death, the Portuguese culture secretary declared: "He was the most Portuguese of all Italians.
Tabucchi became increasingly adept at short fiction. However, it was his novel Sostiene Pereira Pereira Maintains , , which really established him on the continent. The theme of press freedom resonated widely at the time, and has continued to since.
A number of other works by Tabucchi were adapted for the stage and screen. These included Notturno Indiano Indian Nocturne, , which describes the journey of its narrator through India in a mysterious, metaphysical search for a lost friend. Directed by Alain Corneau, Nocturne Indien , the film version starring Jean-Hugues Anglade, effectively captured the melancholy of the original.
While a lover of Portugal, he was no fan of misplaced linguistic nationalism. He was awarded many literary prizes, and in France he was made a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres. As was clear from his fiction, Tabucchi was committed to history and politics and he felt that he should play his part in discussions of the state of contemporary Italy. He had no truck with the widespread attempts to rehabilitate fascism and Mussolini in the s.
Interviewed in La Stampa he declared that: "This correction of history which is frequently produced by a rich, cynical society, totally insensitive to moral questions, is repellent to me … I think that fascism is a great historical wound which is not yet healed. This episode perhaps inspired him to write Tristano Muore Tristan Is Dying, , whose protagonist recounts his war experiences, including the moment he shot a German soldier in Greece before returning to Italy to join the Resistance.
In one of his last publications, Tabucchi built on an early interest in ekphrasis. Tabucchi combined his writing with a variety of academic posts. Latterly, he was professor of Portuguese literature at the University of Siena. In Lisbon he was also director of the Italian Cultural Institute.
Antonio Tabucchi obituary
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