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"Secret Diary 1941-1944" by Curzio Malaparte

The editions Quai Voltaire publish an unpublished text of Malaparte, a secret newspaper held while he was a reporter with the German troops, and after his return to Capri.

• Secret Diary 1941-1944, by Curzio Malaparte, Translated from the Italian and edited by Stéphanie Laporte, Quai Voltaire, 326 p., € 23.70

Totally unpublished, based on the manuscript kept in Milan, this Newspaper was held from April 1941 to July 1943 by Malaparte, then war correspondent charged to follow the Wehrmacht for the Corriere della Sera, in Germany and Poland (in 1942), Finland (summer 1942 to Lapland and Sweden, summer 1943 in Helsinki). After the Anglo-American landing in Sicily and the dismissal of Mussolini (July 1943), Malaparte decided to return to Italy. Released after a few days of detention in Rome, he continues in his villa Capri writing his newspaper and writing his great novel Kaputt.

Suspicions and arrests do not stop for him, even if the anti-fascists do not make a mistake and welcome him as one of theirs. Must we remember that fascist – like Pirandello, Ungaretti, Rossellini, Buzzati and many others – in the hope of a social revolution, he had quickly distanced himself from Mussolini and had been put under house arrest in the islands Lipari? Worried, he had been so by the Nazis in August 1941, then in February 1942 when he was forced to leave Berlin because of his articles deemed too favorable to the Russians.

A post-war summer

Huge equipped through a sick Europe

Imprisoned in Naples for eight days in November 1943, he befriended Colonel Cumming and collaborated with the US secret service. Special Envoy of L'Unità to cover the liberation of Florence in August 1944, he was in September appointed liaison officer with the US High Command and Intelligence in Naples. October 9th Kaputt. Sunday 8, "Gray and hot day", the newspaper stopped. In all these pages, scenes of war and political troubles are not present, probably because he was used to it. Faithful to the challenge he had defined himself – to be himself, that is to say a writer – this Secret newspaper looks like him and, through the anecdote, delivers what is for him the essential.

General Nazi Dietl, far from the necessarily hagiographic description he makes for the Corriere and the figure drawn in Kaputt, he makes a very ironic portrait. After hours of drinking at his house, Malaparte exclaims: " What a wonderful day for my Kaputt! In fact, he wants above all to get notes for this great novel, a huge piece of equipment through a sick Europe.

From Febo to Vieni

His real life, that of a writer, he captures in view of future books: nostalgia, love affair, readings, scholarly research, reflection on the soul of countries, evocation of northern spaces, "The spectral whiteness of the white nights of Lapland" or "Stockholm steel metallic air", memories of his hospitalization in Champagne, when, fighting in the French ranks, he was wounded in 1918, meditation on our links with the animal world …

When leaving Lapland, he is saddened above all by having to say goodbye to the reindeer, whose ritual massacres he denounces by the inhabitants and who have become, he says, elements of his interior landscape. On the first pages, he learns of the death of Febo his dog. At the last, he loses his dog Vieni. Of Febo who often comes back in his dreams, he says he was the greatest love of his life and helped him a lot to develop his religious feeling. For Malaparte, the animal is the true link between God and us.

Francine de Martinoir



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