14 July 1888|
Trieste, Austrian Littoral, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now in Italy)
|Died||3 December 1915
Podgora near Gorizia, County of Gorizia and Gradisca, Austria-Hungary (now in Italy)
|Occupation||essayist, novelist, literary critic|
|Genre||essays, autobiography, travel literature|
Scipio Slataper (14 July 1888 - 3 December 1915) was an Italian writer, most famous for his lyrical essay My Karst. He is considered, alongside Italo Svevo, as the initiator of the prolific tradition of Italian literature in Trieste.
Slataper was born to a relatively wealthy middle-class family the city of Trieste, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (today in Italy). His family was of Bohemian and Italian origin. After completing his high school studies in the native city, he moved to Florence in Italy, where he studied Italian philology. In Florence, he collaborated to the literary journal La Voce, edited by Giuseppe Prezzolini and Giovanni Papini. During his stay in Florence, he started writing essays and articles on the literary and cultural situation in Trieste. He maintained a close contact with his native city, collaborating both with young Italian intellectuals from the Austrian Littoral, both those who lived in Italy and those who remained in their native region. Slataper's circle included the journalist and critic Giulio Caprin, author Giani Stuparich, his wife Elody Oblath and his brother Carlo Stuparich, the emerging literary critic Silvio Benco, and poets Umberto Saba, Virgilio Giotti and Biagio Marin.
After the suicide of his lover in 1910, Slataper retired to the village of Ocizla in the Karst plateau above Trieste, where he wrote his most famous work, the lyrical essay My Karst (Italian: Il mio Carso), considered one of the masterpieces of Italian fin-de-siecle prose. The essay, in which Nietzschean influences can be seen, is an assertion of vitalism and primitive life force. The essay also contains political and philosophical reflections. Among other, Slataper was polemical against the superficial business mentality of the Italian merchants of Trieste and criticized their anti-Slavic prejudices. On the other hand, the work contains highly controversial depictions and reflection on the "suppressed brutal and barbaric nature" of the Slovene peasants from the area.
My Karst was published in Florence in 1912, and remained the only book Slataper published during his lifetime. In 1921, the book was translated to French by Benjamin Crémieux, which helped its spread of Slataper's popularity Europe in the 1920s.
After graduation in 1912, Slataper moved to Hamburg in Germany, where he taught Italian language at the local university. When Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary on 24 May 1915, he moved to Italy and volunteered to join the Italian Army. He was sent to the front along the Isonzo river. In December 1915, he was killed in the Fourth Battle of the Isonzo on the hills surrounding the town of Gorizia.
Slataper had a crucial influence in the creation of a distinct literary tradition in Trieste. Authors influenced by him include Giani and Carlo Stuparich, Fulvio Tomizza, Enzo Bettiza, Susanna Tamaro, Claudio Magris and others. He also influenced several Slovene writers, most notably Marjan Rožanc and Igor Škamperle.
- Il mio Carso ("My Karst"). Firenze: Libreria della Voce, 1912
- I confini necessari all'Italia. Torino: L'Ora Presente, 1915.
- Ibsen (with an introduction by Arturo Farinelli). Turino: Bocca, 1917.
- Scritti letterari e critici ("Literary and Political Writings"), edited by Giani Stuparich. Rome: La Voce, 1920.
- Scritti politici ("Political Writings"). Rome: A. Stock, 1925.
- Lettere ("Letters"), edited by Giani Stuparich. Turin: Buratti, 1930.
- Epistolario, edited by Gianni Stuparich. Verona: Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, 1950.
- Appunti e note di diario, edited by Giani Stuparich. Milano: Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, 1953.
- Alle tre amiche : lettere, edited by Giani Stuparich. Verona: A. Mondadori, 1958.
- Le lettere a Maria, edited by Cesare Pagnini. Roma: G. Volpe, 1981.
- Passato ribele : dramma in un atto. Trieste: Edizioni Dedolibri, 1988.
- Angelo Ara and Claudio Magris, Trieste, un'identità di frontiera ("Trieste: A Borderland Identity"). Turin: Einaudi, 1982.
- Katia Pizzi, A City in Search of an Author: the Literary Identity of Trieste. London: Sheffield Academic Press, 2001.