The Autobiographical Nature of The Garden of the Finzi-Conitini’s by Giorgio Bassani

The Autobiographical Nature of The Garden of the Finzi-Conitini’s by Giorgio Bassani

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One of the most grueling tasks for an author can be coming up with ideas for their novel. Many of them suffer from writer’s block and take months, even years, to finish one book. While writing a novel is tasking, writing a biography is not. All you have to do is write about your own life, how hard can that be? Well, this is the case with The Garden of the Finzi-Conitini’s. Giorgio Bassani writes of his own life throughout the entirety of the novel, with themes like the death of love, with the love of his life Micol Finzi-Contini, wealthy landowners, as he was high on the social ladder in his life much like the Finizi-Contini’s are, and he represents the persecution and isolation of the Jewish people, as he is outlawed from tennis courts and libraries.
Giorgio Bassani was born into a wealthy Jewish family. They lived affluently with chauffeurs, butlers, and a large house. He grew up attending a private school to receive a superior education and his first love was the piano, although literature soon became the focal point of his studies. He attended the University of Bologna in Italy where he studied the art historian Roberto Longhi. His idea of a free state of mind inspired Bassani as that idea was being oppressed in the first place by the Nazi’s. Bassani eventually developed a thesis on Niccolo Tommaseo, a nineteenth century writer and journalist who tried to unify all of Italy to speak one language. Bassani was also a radical anti-fascist who was jailed for resisting the movement and he was released on July 26, 1943, which was the same day that Benito Mussolini was ousted from power. A week or two later he married the love of his life Valeria Sinigallia, a woman he had met by playing tennis. Turns out that being an excellent It...

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...ries. Bassani cultivates a certain confusion between the voice of the narrator (who happens also to be the protagonist of the novel) and the autobiographical self. It is, however, not so much a matter of confusion as a deliberate decision to link the intensely personal “corridor” of memory to a collective memory. In a metaphoric sense, the voyage into the past always leads to funereal perceptions. (Schwarz) The beginning of the novel makes this clear during the visit to the Etruscan tombs. But Bassani also wishes to make clear, as he does explicitly in the final pages of the book, that although the corridor of time and memory gets steadily longer, the past itself can be retrieved. This belief that the past never dies is of course dependent, in the context of Bassani’s tragic themes, on the survival of the witness of a condemned community. As he was in his own life.

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