MORPURGO, GIUSEPPE (1887–1967), Italian author and educator. A secondary school teacher, Morpurgo was for some time after 1938 headmaster of the Jewish school in Turin. His writings on school education retain considerable value. He also edited popular literary anthologies, his subjects including Virgil, Petrarch, and Leopardi. His fiction includes the novels Yom ha-Kippurim (1925) and Beati misericordes (1930). The first deals with the problems of Jews loyal to their religious tradition but fascinated by humanist culture and liberal Western European society, in which they may nevertheless face suffocation. Morpurgo seems to visualize two possible outcomes of this conflict-complete assimilation through mixed marriage arising from a faulty education or emigration to Ereẓ Israel, the land of Jewish regeneration. The author's avowedly Zionist outlook is here quite explicit. In his second novel, Morpurgo examines a Catholic case of conscience, probing spiritual and theological questions with depth and learning.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.