Giorgio Bassani, a poet and writer, was born in 1916 in Bologna into a prosperous Jewish family. His father was a medical doctor. His spent his school years in Ferrara and continued to live there while attending the university in Bologna, where he majored in literature. In 1943 he joined the anti-fascist underground and moved to Rome soon after that. He lived the rest of his life in Rome, where he died in 2000. He is best known to a wider audience for his historical novel The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, published in 1962, which was the basis for a film directed in 1970 by Vittorio De Sica.
Lectures by Prof. Piero Pieri (University of Bologna) and Prof. Dr. Giulio Busi (Freie Universität Berlin) on the role of the city of Ferrara and the significance of Jewish culture in Bassani’s texts will provide a framework for the day-long workshop. Prof. Anna Dolfi (University of Florence), Prof. Alberto Roncaccia (University of Lausanne), and Prof. Dr. Georges Güntert (University of Zurich) will then be working with students from Freie Universität Berlin to look closely at selected pages from Bassani’s works such as Laggiù, in fondo al corridoio, Airone, or Giardino dei Finzi-Contini and base their interpretations on an exact analysis of what they read together. Finally, students of Italian literary studies at Freie Universität will address questions of language and style in translating Bassani’s works into German.