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Alberto Cantoni

CANTONI, ALBERTO (1841–1904), Italian humorous author. Cantoni, who was born in the little community of Pomponesco near Mantua, showed an early taste for literature and languages. Financial independence enabled him to travel widely and to acquire a remarkable knowledge of culture. His early short stories appeared between 1875 and 1880, but his reputation dates from 1887, when he published a volume of essays and stories entitled Il demonio dello stile. In addition to his many short stories and grotesque sketches, he wrote one novel, L'illustrissimo, which was published posthumously in 1906. His work is not without social content, and his sharp judgments on life and his general sense of the "pain of living" led critics to regard his writing as contemporary in the second half of the 20th century. Cantoni had some knowledge of Hebrew and one of his stories, "Israele Italiano," dealing with a Jewish theme, led to a correspondence between himself and Theodor Herzl (preserved in the Zionist Archives in Jerusalem).


R. Bacchelli (ed.), Romanzi e racconti dell' Ottocento (1953), anthology, contains Cantoni's collected works with introd. by editor; L. Pirandello, in: Nuova Antologia (1905), 233–48; F. Bernini, in: Giornale storico della letteratura italiana, no. 109 (1937), 61–91; D. Ponchiroli, in: Belfagor (1951), 422–37. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. Jori, Identità ebraica e sionismo nello scrittore Alberto Cantoni (1841–1904) con il testo di Israele in italiano (2004).

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.