Founded in 1933 by Giulio Einaudi, Leone Ginzburg and Cesare Pavese, in its early years the Turin publishing house was mainly focused on issuing anti-fascist essays. When Ginzburg died, in February 1944, Cesare Pavese enriched the Einaudian catalog with the contributions of new European disciplines (for example, by co-directing with Ernesto de Martino the «Collana viola», a series of religious, ethnological and psychological studies) and extended it in the direction of the Italian and foreign fiction published in the «Coralli», «Supercoralli» and «Millenni» series. Since 1938, Pavese also directed the series «Narratori stranieri tradotti», which testifies to a precocious, but not very thorough interest in the American production: only four of the fifty-five books published up to the suppression of the series (1962) are by American writers (one by Gertrude Stein, one by Henry James, two by Herman Melville), all issued between 1940 and 1943.
During the Ginzburg-Pavese management, the publishing house had only sporadic and occasional contacts with the American cultural world, mainly mediated by Italian intellectuals residing overseas (above all, in the second half of the 1940s, Renato Poggioli). As for the Einaudi family, is the future head of state Luigi, rather than his son Giulio, who influenced the US context as a consultant in social sciences for the Rockefeller Foundation. Excluding the personal contacts between Ernest Hemingway and Elio Vittorini, the turning point in dealing with America must be attributed to Italo Calvino, who frequented the US literary scene (and duly described to Einaudi) in a long journey sponsored by the Ford Foundation between 1959 and 1960. Anyway, his relationships were not limited to those writers he knew overseas (such as Philip Roth and Saul Bellow); over the years, in fact, he had woven a network that included the entire American publishing world. For example, he had a close and stormy collaboration with William Weaver, who would soon be translating not only his books, but also the works by Giorgio Bassani and Umberto Eco.
The American market, rather than poetry or non-fiction, mainly welcomed the contemporary Italian novels prevalent, from the 1960s, in the Einaudi catalog itself. Sometimes, a single novel gained a wide circulation, such as The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, issued for the first time in 1965 (Atheneum), or Christ stopped at Eboli, published nine times in less than twenty years between 1947 and 1965. On the other hand, the diffusion of the works of Natalia Ginzburg, Cesare Pavese and Elio Vittorini (all editors for Einaudi), as for Elsa Morante and Primo Levi, is more heterogeneous. As for Calvino, the translations of his books only intensified after the writer's death (and, above all, after his lectures in Harvard in 1984-1985).
Vittorio De Sica
If This Is A Man
Pier Paolo Pasolini
Writer, director, actor, painter
Writer, translator, literary critic
Einaudi 1933-1993: Indice bibliografico degli autori e collaboratori, elenco delle collane, indici per argomenti e per titoli. Torino: Einaudi, 1993.
Attal, Frédéric. "Luigi Einaudi, la Fondazione Rockefeller e le scienze sociali in Italia." Ventunesimo Secolo 12, n. 31 (2013): 41-62.
Calvino, Italo. Un ottimista in America (1959-1960). Milano: Mondadori, 2015.
Einaudi, Giulio. Frammenti di memoria. Milano: Rizzoli, 1988.
Healey, Robin. Italian Literature since 1900 in English Translation: An Annotated Bibliography, 1929-2016. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2019.
Mangoni, Luisa. Pensare i libri: La casa editrice Einaudi dagli anni trenta agli anni sessanta. Torino: Bollati Boringhieri, 1999.
Pavese, Cesare. 'Officina' Einaudi: Lettere editoriali 1940-1950. Torino: Einaudi, 2008.
Turi, Gabriele. Casa Einaudi: Libri uomini idee oltre il fascismo. Bologna: Il Mulino, 1990.
Vittorini, Elio. Diario in pubblico. Milano: Bompiani, 1957.