Troubador An Author on Trial

Released: 28/03/2019

ISBN: 9781789017687

eISBN: 9781789019896

Format: Paperback/eBook

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An Author on Trial

The Story of a Forgotten Writer

by

In 1939, the Italian writer Giuseppe Jorio (1902 - 1995) enjoyed great success with his debut novel, La Morte di un Uomo (Death of a Man), but, soon after the war, his career was ruined when he was prosecuted, subjected to five trials in six years, and found guilty of having written an obscene novel, Il Fuoco del Mondo (The Fire of the World).  He was the first writer in post-war Italy to receive such a conviction, and the only one to receive a prison sentence. 

In An Author on Trial, his son, Luciano Iorio, reveals for the first time how bigoted judges, in alignment with the illiberal and aggressive censorship policies ‘in defence of decency’ adopted by the ruling Christian Democracy party, openly fuelled by the Vatican, were determined to make an example of Giuseppe Jorio - even if that meant to misapply the law. 

With the help of family letters and his father’s diaries, Luciano Iorio also tells the dramatic events in his father’s life which inspired the novel. He describes the difficult times in which the novel was written, the enormous strain of the five trials, and their effect on his father’s work, life and family. Particular attention is given to the father-son relationship, which was painfully shaped by the events that took place before and after the novel was written.

The book makes also a strong case for Giuseppe Jorio to be remembered as a valid and unique voice in twentieth-century Italian literature, and not purely as the author of the condemned and never published Il Fuoco del Mondo.

That's Books

What a wonderfully enthralling and compelling read this book turned out to be. Although short in length the book has a number of thought provoking themes, the central one being injustice. It shows how it arose and the devastating effect that the events described here had both professionally and personally on someone's life and those around them. Leading on from this is the need to put things right by rectifying the wrongdoings of the past. Written by his son, this is an account of how Italian writer Giuseppe Jorio who's debut novel La Morte di un Uomo (Death of a Man) achieved literary success would fall foul of the new post war reality of an alignment of political and social conservatism between the newly formed Christian Democratic Party, a cowered judiciary and the still powerful and all invasive Vatican.

After five trials over six years in which we learn of the full absurdity of the existing law and its misappropriation to enable the required verdict to be achieved, Jorio becomes the first Italian post war writer to receive a conviction and the only one to be awarded a prison sentence for the act of having written an obscene novel. Il Fuoco del Mondo (The Fire of the World) which derives from Jorio's deeply personal experiences is unbelievably still banned in Italy today. There are no obscenities to be found in the book and its treatment becomes even more absurd when one considers that at that time Lady Lady Chatterley's Lover was available in Italy being categorised as a work of art but the publication of the full unexpurgated version would be banned in the UK until after its trail in the ludicrously late date of 1960 showing that it was not just in Italy where the State tried to uphold its version of morality,

This book took his son Luciano five years to research and write and is based largely on his father's diaries and family letters that came into his possession several years after.his father's death. The book not only deals with how Jorio would never be able to recover from the trauma of the trials and the subsequent rejection by publishers of his later work but it looks most poignantly at the relationship between a father and his son and how events would cause a somewhat strained and distant connection between them. Luciano ends the book with the hope that he will find a university in the UK who would be willingly to accept the donation of his father's published and unpublished books with their accompanying material. In addition I'm thinking would it not perhaps be a good idea if there is indeed enough interest in An Author on Trial for its publisher to consider and finally publish Il Fuoco del Mondo. I for one would be interested to read this and other of Giuseppe Jorio's works. A fascinating book which I would recommend to all those who are interested in the need to maintain artistic freedom.

by G Heard


What a wonderfully enthralling and compelling read this book turned out to be. Although short in length the book has a number of thought provoking themes, the central one being injustice. It shows how it arose and the devastating effect that the events described here had both professionally and personally on someone's life and those around them. Leading on from this is the need to put things right by rectifying the wrongdoings of the past. Written by his son, this is an account of how Italian writer Giuseppe Jorio who's debut novel La Morte di un Uomo (Death of a Man) achieved literary success would fall foul of the new post war reality of an alignment of political and social conservatism between the newly formed Christian Democratic Party, a cowered judiciary and the still powerful and all invasive Vatican.

After five trials over six years in which we learn of the full absurdity of the existing law and its misappropriation to enable the required verdict to be achieved, Jorio becomes the first Italian post war writer to receive a conviction and the only one to be awarded a prison sentence for the act of having written an obscene novel. Il Fuoco del Mondo (The Fire of the World) which derives from Jorio's deeply personal experiences is unbelievably still banned in Italy today. There are no obscenities to be found in the book and its treatment becomes even more absurd when one considers that at that time Lady Chatterley's Lover was available in Italy being categorised as a work of art but the publication of the full unexpurgated version would be banned in the UK until after its trail in the ludicrously late date of 1960 showing that it was not just in Italy where the State tried to uphold its version of morality,

This book took his son Luciano five years to research and write and is based largely on his father's diaries and family letters that came into his possession several years after.his father's death. The book not only deals with how Jorio would never be able to recover from the trauma of the trials and the subsequent rejection by publishers of his later work but it looks most poignantly at the relationship between a father and his son and how events would cause a somewhat strained and distant connection between them. Luciano ends the book with the hope that he will find a university in the UK who would be willingly to accept the donation of his father's published and unpublished books with their accompanying material. In addition I'm thinking would it not perhaps be a good idea if there is indeed enough interest in An Author on Trial for its publisher to consider and finally publish Il Fuoco del Mondo. I for one would be interested to read this and other of Giuseppe Jorio's works. A fascinating book which I would recommend to all those who are interested in the need to maintain artistic freedom.

by G


Though highly regarded for his first book, Italian writer Giuseppe Jorio, became entangled with the country's dubious morality law with his second book Il Fuoco del Mondo during the fascist period and was put on trail, claiming the book was obscene. The multiple trails and the subsequent infamy cost him his literary career, sunk his other books into oblivion, affected his creative ability and eventually ended his marriage. Now, decades after his death, his son Luciano Iorio tries to reconstruct the life of a man who may be perhaps one of the most misunderstood figures in modern Italian literature. Extracted from his journals and his own memories, Luciano Iorio constructs a narrative that is at once illuminating, fast paced and touching. It's a short book and the author only briefly touches on similar cases of other books having banned during his father's period and hence it's not a study on stifling of freedom of expression and literature. Yet, it works effectively as a very personal biography of an author who deserved a better career but fell for the bigoted hypocrisy of a vague judiciary that allowed the translations of other books in similar vein to thrive in the Italina market, thereby exercising gross injustice. I enjoyed the book immensely.

by Prathap


What an interesting book! I’d never heard of Italian author Giuseppe Jorio (1902-1995) before, and I hazard a guess that not many other readers will have either. He had great success with his first novel, Death of a Man, in 1939 and looked set for a rewarding career. But his next novel, The Fire of the World, was considered obscene, and he was prosecuted and convicted, even spending time in prison, the only writer in post-war Italy to do so. In this well-written and well-researched account of his father’s life and work, his son Luciano Iorio explores exactly what happened, and why, and examines in detail the prosecution and trial and the devastating effect it had on his father’s life and career. Not only is the book fascinating from a personal and literary point of view, it also explores the politics of post-war Italy, and I really learned a great deal from it. Raising wider concerns about censorship and bigotry, the book is a thoughtful, intelligent and insightful exploration of this forgotten writer and the place and time he lived in.

by Mandy


A must read! Superbly written and well researched. It shows how long injustices in the "justice" system have been going on.

by January


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