See biography by S. G. Pugliese 2009).
(born May 1, 1900, Pescina dei Marsi, Italy—died Aug. 22, 1978, Geneva, Switz.) Italian novelist, short-story writer, and political leader. A founder of the Italian Communist party in 1921, he was active in the party until the fascists drove him into exile. In 1930 he settled in Switzerland, became disillusioned with communism, and began to write antifascist works. He became internationally famous with his first novel, Fontamara (1930), which was followed by the novels Bread and Wine (1937) and The Seed Beneath the Snow (1940) and the satire The School for Dictators (1938). After World War II he returned to Italian politics before retiring to write such works as A Handful of Blackberries (1952).
Learn more about Silone, Ignazio with a free trial on Britannica.com.
He was a founder member of the breakaway Italian Communist Party (PCI) in 1921, becoming one of its covert leaders during the Fascist regime. Ignazio's brother Romolo Tranquilli was arrested in 1928 for being a member of the PCI, and he died in prison in 1931 as a result of the severe beatings he received.
The United States Army printed unauthorised versions of Fontamara and Bread and Wine and distributed them to the Italians during the liberation of Italy after 1943. These two books together with The Seed Beneath the Snow form the Abruzzo Trilogy. Silone returned to Italy only in 1944, and two years later he was elected as a PSI deputy.
In the course of World War II, he had become the leader of a clandestine Socialist organization operating from Switzerland to support resistance groups in Nazi Germany-occupied Northern Italy. He also became an Office of Strategic Services (OSS) agent under the pseudonym of Len.
Following his contribution to anti-communist anthology The God That Failed (1949), Silone joined the Congress of Cultural Freedom and edited Tempo Presente. In 1967, with the discovery that the journal received secret funds from the United States Central Intelligence Agency, Silone resigned and devoted all his energies to the writing of novels and autobiographical essays.
In 1969 he was awarded the Jerusalem Prize, a literary award for writers who deal with the theme of individual freedom and society. In 1971 he was the recipient of the prestigious Prix mondial Cino Del Duca.
Italian historian Giuseppe Tamburrano, however, maintains that some police documents produced by Biocca and Canali cannot be attributed to Silone.
A 2005 biography by Biocca also includes documents showing Silone's involvement with the American intelligence during and after the World War, ultimately suggesting that Silone's political stands (as well as extensive literary work) should be reconsidered in light of a more complex personality and a deep sense of remorse.
The Secret of luca