Cesare Pavese

(9 September 1908 – 27 August 1950 / Santo Stefano Belbo)

Cesare Pavese
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Cesare Pavese was an Italian poet, novelist, literary critic and translator; he is widely considered among the major authors of the 20th century in his home country.

Early life and education

Cesare Pavese was born in Santo Stefano Belbo, in the province of Cuneo. It was the village where his father was born and where the family returned for the summer holidays each year. He started infant classes in San Stefano Belbo, but the rest of his education was in schools in Turin. His most important teacher at the time was Augusto Monti, writer and educator, whose writing style was devoid of all rhetoric.

As a young man of letters, Pavese had a particular interest in ... more »

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Quotations

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  • ''Will power is only the tensile strength of one's own disposition. One cannot increase it by a single ounce.''
    Cesare Pavese (1908-1950), Italian poet, novelist, translator. The Burning Brand: Diaries 1935-1950, entry for Jan. 15, 1938 (1952, trans. 1961).
  • Literature is a defense against the attacks of life. It says to life: "You can't deceive me. I know your habits, foresee and enjoy watching all your reactions, and steal your secret by involving you i...
    Cesare Pavese (1908-1950), Italian poet, novelist, translator. The Burning Brand: Diaries 1935-1950, entry for May 5, 1936 (1952, trans. 1961).
  • ''If it were possible to have a life absolutely free from every feeling of sin, what a terrifying vacuum it would be!''
    Cesare Pavese (1908-1950), Italian poet, novelist, translator. The Burning Brand: Diaries 1935-1950, entry for March 17, 1940 (1952, trans. 1961).
  • ''One does not kill oneself for love of a woman, but because love—any love—reveals us in our nakedness, our misery, our vulnerability, our nothingness.''
    Cesare Pavese (1908-1950), Italian poet, novelist, translator. The Burning Brand: Diaries 1935-1950, entry for March 25, 1950 (1952, trans. 1961). ...
  • ''No one ever lacks a good reason for suicide.''
    Cesare Pavese (1908-1950), Italian poet, novelist, translator. Journal entry, March 23, 1938. The Burning Brand: Diaries 1935-1950 (1950, trans. 1961)...
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Best Poem of Cesare Pavese

Death Will Come With Your Eyes

Death will come with your eyes—
this death that accompanies us
from morning till night, sleepless,
deaf, like an old regret
or a stupid vice. Your eyes
will be a useless word,
a muted cry, a silence.
As you see them each morning
when alone you lean over
the mirror. O cherished hope,
that day we too shall know
that you are life and nothing.

For everyone death has a look.
Death will come with your eyes.
It will be like terminating a vice,
as seen in the mirror
a dead face re-emerging,
like listening to closed lips.
We'll go down the ...

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