Originally published in 1965, The Writer and the People was one of the key books in the revitalization and invigoration of the young Left in late-1960s Italy. Aiming to demystify the myth of populism, Alberto Asor Rosa takes on Marxism and its legacy, the relationship between Fascism and the Left, the prospects for militant anti-Fascism, and more. He does so through detailed reconstructions, analyses, and critiques of some of the central figures of modern Italian literature, including Giovanni Verga, Carlo Casola, Antonio Gramsci, and Pier Paolo Pasolini. Translated into English for the first time, The Writer and the People is both a historical text, helping us understand postwar Italian politics and society, and a living document, able to educate and inspire left-wing activists today.
Alberto Asor Rosa is a writer and literary critic and professor emeritus of Italian literature at La Sapienza University of Rome. Matteo Mandarini is an independent researcher and translator.