Bread and Wine by Ignazio Silone
New York : Harper & Brothers, 1937. First Edition. Hardcover. 319 pages ; 21 cm. Price clipped dust jacket. Gift inscription on front free endpaper. No other markings within book. Binding is firm.
BREAD AND WINE
By IGNAZIO SILONE
This is the story of Pietro Spina, a young Italian passionately devoted to liberty, who returns to his country after fifteen years of exile to engage in revolutionary activities among the peasants. Ignazio Silone has made it a richly patterned story that will be long remembered for its human incident, its profoundly philosophical quality, its salty humor, and the beauty of its writing.
Spina is at once an idealist and a man of action, whose fixed purpose is to direct his life toward that which seems to him to be right and good. Disguised as a priest, he moves back and forth between the peasants of the Abruzzi and the city workers of Rome, plotting the overthrow of the dictatorship. At the same time he is seeking, by a revaluation of his religious and social beliefs, an answer to questions which today are troubling the conscience of every intelligent and sensitive human being: What place is there for a free man in a dictator-ridden world? Is intellectual integrity still possible?
The theme of the book is of epic significance and as timely as tomorrow morning's headlines. The story—packed with action, drama, humor, and brilliant characterization—is already acclaimed abroad, for its flashing-insight into the minds and folkways of a people in crisis. With this second novel, Silone takes his place among the foremost world writers of our day.
The New Statesman and Nation (London): "It is evident from this one novel that Silone is a writer of far more than usual integrity and importance."
The Observer (London): "Don Paolo (the hero of Bread and Wine) is the still small voice at the centre of the Fascist whirlwind. But for the purposes of literature he is something more. He is a shred of eternal spirit that has taken flesh."
Morning Post (London): "A wonderful book: a novel about revolution, Hut, for once, not confined to the surface of things. It is beyond any party, certainly one of the first novels of the year."
Neues Tagebuch (Paris): "Silone has created a book which, despite its timeliness, is ageless. Moreover, he has a sense of humor all his own, a bitter humor which tempers his scorn and indignation with a deep sense of sympathy and compassion. In their realism, these pages remind one of the best chapters in Zola's novels."
Tages Anzeiger (Zurich): "Poet and politician, story-teller and reporter, rebel and exile, have combined to produce a masterpiece."
Ignazio Silone is an Italian of aristocratic birth, but because of his passionate devotion to liberty and justice his sympathies are wholly with the Italian peasants and workers.
He was educated in Catholic schools. At the outbreak of the World War, he declared himself a pacifist, and at the age of 18, became the editor of a radical newspaper. After the Black Shirts marched on Rome, he was forced to carry on his activities underground. He lost several members of his family in an earthquake, and his only brother was beaten to death by the Fascists. Silone himself was persecuted, and eventually fled to Switzerland, where he now lives in exile.
Fontamara, his first novel, brought Silone instant recognition the world over. It has been translated into twenty languages and was dramatized in New York under the title "Bitter Stream." Bread and Wine is a choice of the Book-of-the-Month Club in America, as well as of two book clubs in Europe, one in Switzerland, the other in Holland.
"I was carried away by Fontamara, and find Bread and Wine even finer." —DOROTHY CANFIELD
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