In commemoration of the 26th anniversary of the death of Gennaro Manna (1922-1990), one of Italy’s leading novelists and poets, Sandro Sticca, professor of French and comparative literature, was interviewed by the literary critic Simone Gambacorta. The interview was published on Thursday, Jan. 7, in the Cultura section of the newspaper La Città of Teramo (Abruzzo), Italy. A widely acclaimed post-war poet and novelist who committed suicide in Rome on April 11, 1990, Manna was the author of eight novels. In 1979, he wrote his famous essay Tramonto Della civiltà Contadina, which received the Premio Nuovo Mezzogiorno.
Sticca is considered the leading authority on Manna, and has written three books on his work: Arte e esistenza in Gennaro Manna (1993), Manna tra vita e narrative (1998) and a book on his poetry, Lo poesia di Gennaro Manna: il Verbo del Sacro e dell’Assurdo (2009). Sticca’s interest in Manna is both affective – he, like Manna, was born in the town of Tocco Casauria (Abruzzo, Italy) – and aesthetic.
For his work on Manna, Sticca received the Onore alla Carriera award from the Hon. Publio Fiori, vice president of Italy’s House, on May 27, 2004. The Cultural Councillorship of the Province of Rome, in the Altemps Place, also awarded Sticca the prestigious Premio Fiore di Roccia, first prize for his critical work on Manna in December, 1968. In a moving ceremony, Sticca received the award directly from Anna Manna, the writer’s oldest child. In his essay, Gambacorta refers to Sticca as “il Massimo esperto” of Manna.
Sticca is presently writing a book on Manna and Cesare Pavese (1908-1950). Pavese was Manna’s favorite writer, and also committed suicide on Aug. 27, 1950. The title of Sticca’s book is Cesare Pavese e Gennaro Manna: la Tragica Ricerca del Mistero Metafisico.