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Massimo Bontempelli papers, 1865-1991

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Finding aid for the Massimo Bontempelli papers, 1865-1991

Scope and Content of Collection

The bulk of the Massimo Bontempelli Papers are from 1920-1960, the four decades of Bontempelli's greatest prominence and productivity. There are, however, selected manuscripts from before his conversion to the avant-garde, including several plays, a WWI novel, and his university thesis on the problem of free will. There is also a substantial amount of familial correspondence and a small amount of correspondence with Pirandello (5 letters) from the years when they were both school teachers. Photographs and clippings help to fill in the collection's otherwise sketchy portrait of the first half of Bontempelli's life.

The collection also contains a small archive of Giosuè Borsi papers, and another of Paola Masino papers.

The collection extensively documents, through correspondence and photographs, Bontempelli's most important personal experiences after 1920, including his love affair with the French painter Mariette Lydis and his relationship with the writer Paola Masino, who remained his companion for the rest of his life. The writers and editors with whom he was closely associated are also represented in the correspondence series.

There are handwritten or corrected typewritten drafts of four of Bontempelli's mature novels and selections from four short story collections; novels from the early 1920s are not in the collection, and there is no poetry. There are handwritten and/or corrected typewritten drafts of all plays except Guardia all luna, many of the essays or lectures eventually collected in Introduzioni e discorsi and Passione incompiuta, his major translations, and numerous musical scores. A number of Bontempelli's stories, plays or reviews are featured in the collection's serials, while the clippings offer comprehensive coverage of his life and times.

Media in the collection include manuscripts, photographs, sculpture, an audio tape, an LP recording, serials, and clippings. Books and theses on Bontempelli were separated from the collection and are now housed in the Getty Research Institute Library.

Arrangement note

The collection is organized into 9 series:
Series I. Correspondence, ca. 1871-1990, undated;
Series II. Manuscripts, 1904-1959, undated;
Series III. Personal, ca. 1860s-1959, undated;
Series IV. Manuscripts by others, 1940s-1986, undated;
Series V. Giosuè Borsi papers, 1915-1920, undated;
Series VI. Paola Masino papers, 1956-1982, undated;
Series VII. Photographs, drawings and sculpture, 1800s-1980;
Series VIII. Serials, 1904-1986, undated;
Series IX. Newspaper clippings, 1889-1991.

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