Curzio Malaparte

1898–1957
German-Italian writer, dramatist, and journalist Kurt Erich Suckert published under the pseudonym Curzio Malaparte (which he learned was Napoleon Bonaparte’s original family name), was born in Prato, and raised by foster parents. At age 13, Malaparte entered Ciognini College. At 16 he enlisted and served in World War I on the French front, and then was transferred to the Italian army. He led the 94th Section of Flamethrowers, and he was awarded the French Cross for his bravery. As a young man he was a member of the Italian Fascist party, but his attack on Totalitarianism, Technique du coup d'état: the technique of revolution (1931) angered Mussolini, and Malaparte was exiled on the island of Lipari. During World War II Malaparte worked as a correspondent for Corriere della Sera, and he moved to Paris after the war as his political views shifted to the left, encompassing aspects of Communism and Maoism.
 
His novels Kaputt (1946) and The Skin (1952) are precise, chilling portraits of war and liberation. Malaparte is also the author of the plays Du côté de chez Proust (performed in 1948), Das Kapital (performed in 1949), and Anche le donne hanno perso la Guerra (performed in 1954), as well as the screenplay for Il Cristo proibito (1951). The Bird that Swallowed Its Cage: The Selected Writings of Curzio Malaparte (2012) was translated by film editor Walter Murch, who adapted selections of Malaparte’s prose into free verse.
 
Malaparte died of lung cancer in Rome, and he converted to Catholicism on his deathbed.

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Poet Categorization

POET’S REGION Italy

LIFE SPAN 1898–1957

Biography

German-Italian writer, dramatist, and journalist Kurt Erich Suckert published under the pseudonym Curzio Malaparte (which he learned was Napoleon Bonaparte’s original family name), was born in Prato, and raised by foster parents. At age 13, Malaparte entered Ciognini College. At 16 he enlisted and served in World War I on the French front, and then was transferred to the Italian army. He led the 94th Section of Flamethrowers, . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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