Ignazio Silone

Ignazio Silone (* 1. May 1900 in Pescina dei Marsi/Abruzzen; † 22. August 1978 in Geneva) was an Italian writer.

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it was born in a small place of the Aquila region. Its birth name was at that time still Secondo Tranquilli. Due to its underground activities during fascism it replaced these however by the alias, which became then later also its correct name. The father Silones was small basic owner, the nut/mother Weberin. By an earthquake in the Marcia (1915) Silone had lost its nut/mother and five brothers and sisters. Its father seems before to have died already one year. In this time Silones already begin first political activities. Still as a young person it participates in the fights of the agricultural workers, who straight in its homeland region ( the Abruzzen) still remnants of the old feudalen large-landed property face. Here he comes then also into the contact with socialist ideas, which will play an important role in its later period of life.

Since Silone had broken the school off, he dedicated starting from 1917 strengthens to his political interest area. It writes articles for the socialist newspaper Avanti (forward), in which it omits itself among other things over the bad states, which arose in the Marsica by the earthquake. In the same year it joins the regional farmer federation and becomes a secretary of the agricultural worker trade union. After its removal to Rome, which also 1917 takes place, he becomes a secretary of the socialist youth there. Beyond that he is selected to the director of the weekly revue „Avanguardia “(avant-garde). Somewhat later, after its change to the PCI, he becomes coworker of the newspaper beyond that „Lavoratore “(worker). 1919 he becomes acquainted with the police inspector Guido Bellone, to which he supplies with information about the socialist movement in Rome. The contact to Bellone takes also after the seizure of power by the fascists only 1930 in a letter to the police inspector is on solved. Because of these informer services Silone was not obviously obstructed by the police in its travel activity and its work. To what extent it harmed the party friends with its reports, in disputed and still the subject of the research remains. (Biocca, Ignacio Silone, 2005.)

On the congress the psi in Livorno occurred Silone 1921 with a majority of the socialist youth organization the basing PCI, in which it transferred the line of the youth organization. By the victory of the fascists in Italy, Silone was forced to continue to work in the underground. In the context of this working it was located also with Gramsci in contact, with which together it wrote for the appearing secret Unità. Due to its function he attended meetings of the Komintern in Moscow also several times at the side of Togliatti and Gramsci and made in the order for party journeys into other European countries. About 1930 go to Silone completely into the exile into Switzerland. Its brother Romolo, which had survived only from its closer family that the earthquake, had been brought briefly before, due to wrong accusations in connection with an assassination attempt in Milan, in the prison, where the fascists killed him later.

In the exile a political reorientation began with Silone. By its position as representatives of the Italian communists with the Komintern, he could see the ascent Stalins and the associated Ausgrenzung of internal-party opponents Stalins from next proximity. So it between 1927 and 1929 were with the meetings present, at which the positions defiance gravel, Bucharins and other alleged Stalingegner were condemned. Silone followed these condemnations not, and broke from disappointment over the tolerance lacking and openness with the communist movement and with communism, which led then in the summer 1931 also to its party withdrawal.

With its Swiss exile begins Silones work as a writer. Here it writes Fontamara and the books concerning Pietro Spina: Pane e vino (bread and wine) and IL seme sotto la neve (the seed under the snow), in which it argues among other things with its own life and its own aspect over socialism. In this time also “fascism developed - its emergence and development “. Contrary to this special book, which also in postwar Italy were not shifted was allowed, its first two novels found their readers as underground literature in fascist Italy.

In the exile Silone worked further politically. So it held the line of the socialist foreign office starting from 1939. 1941 and 1943 he is interned, since he had offended against the prohibition of the political manipulation.

After its return in the year 1944 Silone is further in the psi active, and participates in this connection also as their representative at the constituent national assembly. It will appoint and leads 1945 into the management of the socialist newspaper “Avanti” starting from 1947 in addition the newspaper” Europe Socialista “(socialist Europe), along-created by it. After splitting the psi, with which Silones sympathies obviously lay with the social-democratic wing, decides Silone to the large retreat from the policy and dedicates themselves above all to the literary activity. In this connection he transfers in the year 1952 the line of the newspaper “speed presente “(our time) and is at the same time still a chairman of the per-American” l'Associazione Italiana by la Libertà della Cultura “(Italian combination for the liberty of the culture). It holds this position until 1969.

It took place at Silone however also still another another change. Together with its parting from the political events of the day, he begins to redefine itself. He sees himself now as “Christian without church and a socialist without a party”. This change did not come however really suddenly. There already in its second book “Pane e vino” stands for Pietro Spina as evenly such. To 22. August 1978 dies Ignazio Silone after serious illness in a Geneva hospital.


  • 1930 - Fontamara
  • 1934 - fascism: its emergence and its development
  • 1937 - bread and wine
  • 1938 - school of the dictators
  • 1940 - the seed under the snow
  • 1952 - a handful of Brombeeren
  • 1957 - the secret of the Luca
  • 1969 - the fox and the Kamelie
  • 1965 - emergency exit. Autobiography
  • 1968 - The adventure of a poor Christian


  • Dagmar Ploetz: Ignazio Silone. Rebel and Romancier a writer life in 20. Century

Cologne 2000

  • Leake, Elizabeth: The Reinvention OF Ignazio Silone. Toronto 2003.
  • Biocca, Dario: Ignazio Silone. La doppia vita un italiano. Milan 2005.

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