Nanni Balestrini

Last updated

Nanni Balestrini
Nanni Balestrini.jpg
Born(1935-07-02)2 July 1935
Milan, Italy
Died19 May 2019(2019-05-19) (aged 83)
Rome, Italy
OccupationNovelist, essayist, screenwriter
Genre Novel, essay, screenwriting
Literary movement Neoavanguardia
Notable worksVogliamo tutto

Nanni Balestrini (2 July 1935 – 19 May 2019) was an Italian experimental poet, author and visual artist of the Neoavanguardia movement.



Nanni Balestrini is associated with the Italian writers' movement Neoavanguardia. He wrote for the magazine Il Verri , founded and co-directed the now-defunct Alfabeta [1] [2] and was one of the Italian writers published in the anthology I Novissimi (1961).

Balestrini was born in Milan. During the 1960s, as the group was growing and becoming the Gruppo 63, Balestrini was the editor of their publications. From 1962 to 1972, he was working for Feltrinelli, cooperating with the Marsilio  [ it ] publishers and editing some issues of the Cooperativa Scrittori. In 1968, Balestrini was co-founder of the Potere Operaio political group and in 1976 was an important supporter of the Autonomia Operaia. In 1979, he was accused of membership in a guerilla group and fled to Paris and later Germany.

Balestrini became known by a larger public thanks to his first novel We Want Everything (Vogliamo tutto, 1971). It describes the struggles and conflicts in the car factory of FIAT. In the following years, the social movements of his time continued to be his subject. With the book The Unseen, he created a literary monument for the "Generation of 1977". It shows the atmosphere of rapid social change during these years, concretising in house occupations, the creation of free radios and more, and also shows the considerable repression by the state of these movements. Other important works by Balestrini include; I Furiosi, dedicated to the football supporters culture of the AC Milan, and The Editor, dealing with Giangiacomo Feltrinelli. Especially in his book The Golden Horde, co-written with Primo Moroni, his proximity to operaismo is obvious. His final novel published while he was still living, Sandokan (2004) deals with the Camorra in Casal di Principe.

His experimental "novel" Tristano, was conceived to be read by each reader differently, since each sentence is randomly shuffled. Originally conceived in 1966, it had to await publication till the age of print-on-demand, but critic Tim Martin found one of its 109 trillion versions "drifting, impressionistic and oddly compelling." [3] [4]





  • Come si agisce, Feltrinelli, 1963.
  • Ma noi facciamone un'altra, Feltrinelli, 1966.
  • Poesie pratiche, antologia 1954-1969, Einaudi, 1976.
  • Le ballate della signorina Richmond, Coop. Scrittori, 1977.
  • Blackout, DeriveApprodi, 2009 [2001].
  • Ipocalisse, Scheiwiller, 1986.
  • Il ritorno della signorina Richmond, Becco giallo, 1987.
  • Osservazioni sul volo degli uccelli, poesie 1954-56, Scheiwiller, 1988.
  • Il pubblico del labirinto, Scheiwiller, 1992.
  • Estremi rimedi, Manni, 1995.
  • Le avventure complete della signorina Richmond, Testo&Immagine, 1999.
  • Elettra, Luca Sossella, 2001.
  • Tutto in una volta, antologia 1954-2003, Edizioni del Leone, 2003.
  • Sfinimondo, Bibliopolis, 2003.
  • Sconnessioni, Rome, Fermenti, 2008.
  • Blackout e altro, Rome, Deriveapprodi, 2009.
  • Lo sventramento della storia, Rome, Polìmata, 2009.


  • Tristano, DeriveApprodi, 2007 [1964].
  • Vogliamo tutto, DeriveApprodi, 2004 [1971].
  • La violenza illustrata, DeriveApprodi, 2001 [1976].
  • Gli invisibili, DeriveApprodi, 2005 [1987].
  • L'editore, DeriveApprodi, 2006 [1989].
  • I furiosi, DeriveApprodi, 2004 [1994].
  • Una mattina ci siam svegliati, Baldini & Castoldi, 1995.
  • La Grande Rivolta, Bompiani, 1999.
  • Sandokan, storia di camorra, Einaudi, 2004.

Short stories

  • Disposta l'autopsia dell'anarchico morto dopo i violenti scontri di Pisa in: Paola Staccioli, In ordine pubblico, Rome, 2002, S. 25-31.


  • Gruppo 63, L'Antologia, (mit Alfredo Giuliani), Testo&Immagine, 2002 [1964].
  • Gruppo 63. Il romanzo sperimentale, Feltrinelli, 1965.
  • L'Opera di Pechino, (mit Letizia Paolozzi), Feltrinelli, 1966.
  • L'orda d'oro, (mit Primo Moroni), Sugarco, 1988; Feltrinelli, 1997, 2003.
  • Parma 1922, DeriveApprodi, 2002.

Related Research Articles

Achille Bonito Oliva

Achille Bonito Oliva is an Italian art critic and historian of contemporary art. Since 1968 he has taught history of contemporary art at La Sapienza, the university of Rome. He has written extensively on contemporary art and contemporary artists; he originated the term Transavanguardia to describe the new direction taken in the late 1970s by artists such as Sandro Chia, Francesco Clemente, Enzo Cucchi, Nicola De Maria, and Mimmo Paladino. He has organised or curated numerous contemporary art events and exhibitions; in 1993 he was artistic director of the Biennale di Venezia.

Giorgio Manganelli was an Italian journalist, avant-garde writer, translator and literary critic. A native of Milan, he was one of the leaders of the avant-garde literary movement in Italy in the 1960s, Gruppo 63. He was a baroque and expressionist writer. Manganelli translated Edgar Allan Poe's complete stories and authors like T. S. Eliot, Henry James, Eric Ambler, O. Henry, Ezra Pound, Robert Louis Stevenson, Byron's Manfred and others into Italian. He published an experimental work of fiction, Hilarotragoedia, in 1964, at the time he was a member of the avant-garde Gruppo 63. Centuria, which won the Viareggio Prize is probably his most approachable; it was translated into English in 2005 by Henry Martin. Agli dei ulteriori comprises a linked collection of short pieces including an exchange of letters between Hamlet and the Princess of Cleves and concludes with a fake learned article on the language of the dead. He died in Rome in 1990. He was an atheist. Italo Calvino called him ' a writer unlike any other, an inexhaustible and irresistible inventor in the game of language and ideas'.

The Battle of Valle Giulia is the conventional name for a clash between Italian militants and the Italian police in Valle Giulia, Rome, on 1 March 1968. It is still frequently remembered as one of the first violent clashes in Italy's student unrest during the protests of 1968 or "Sessantotto".

Gianni Celati Italian writer (1937–2022)

Gianni Celati was an Italian writer, translator, and literary critic.

Roberto Saviano Italian journalist and writer

Roberto Saviano is an Italian writer, essayist, and screenwriter. In his writings, including articles and his book Gomorrah, he uses literature and investigative reporting to tell of the economic reality of the territory and business of organized crime in Italy, in particular the Camorra crime syndicate, and of organized crime more generally.

The Neoavanguardia was an avant-garde Italian literary movement oriented towards radical forms of experimentation with language. Some of its most prominent members include Nanni Balestrini, Edoardo Sanguineti, Umberto Eco, Antonio Porta, Elio Pagliarani, Alfredo Giuliani, Giorgio Manganelli, Luigi Malerba, Germano Lombardi, Francesco Leonetti, Alberto Gozzi, Massimo Ferretti, Franco Lucentini, Amelia Rosselli, Sebastiano Vassalli, Patrizia Vicinelli and Lello Voce.

Lello Voce is an Italian poet, writer, and journalist. He was among the founders of Gruppo 93 and of the six-monthly literary magazine Baldus. He lives and works in Treviso, Veneto.

Antonio Porta (author) Italian author and poet

Antonio Porta was an author and poet and one of the founders of the Italian literary movement Gruppo 63.

Alberto Arbasino Italian writer and politician (1930–2020)

Nino Alberto Arbasino was an Italian writer, essayist, and politician.

Mario Tronti

Mario Tronti is an Italian philosopher and politician, considered one of the founders of the theory of operaismo in the 1960s.

Guglielmo Cavallo is an Italian palaeographer, Emeritus Professor of the Sapienza University of Rome.

Nicola Tanda was an Italian philologist and literary critic. He studied under Ungaretti and Sapegno at Rome. He was for over thirty years professor at the University of Sassari, first specialising in Italian literature, and then later in Sardinian philology and Sardinian literature. He was a leading advocate for minority languages and their literary expression in the island of Sardinia, including the Sardinian language and Algherese Catalan. As such he was an honorary member of ANPOSDI. He wrote the new Philology of Italians based on the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. He was founder and President of the Sardinian PEN Club. He was President of the jury of the Premio Ozieri literary prize founded in 1956 to promote new works composed in Sardinian tongues. He founded in 2003 the Centre for Study of Sardinian Philology. As an editor/director he has guided the publication of over 100 volumes written in Sardinian languages.

Franco Berardi Italian philosopher and activist

Franco "Bifo" Berardi is an Italian communist philosopher, theorist and activist in the autonomist tradition, whose work mainly focuses on the role of the media and information technology within post-industrial capitalism. Berardi has written over two dozen published books, as well as a number of essays and speeches.

Giovanni Fontana is an Italian poet, performance artist, author and publisher.

Archivio di Nuova Scrittura

The Archivio di Nuova Scrittura is a cultural association founded in 1988 in Milan, Italy by art collector Paolo Della Grazia. The archive preserves a large artistic and documentary heritage about any form of artistic expression featuring the use of both the word and the sign. Born from the encounter between Della Grazia and artist Ugo Carrega, in the 1990s the ANS became the main Italian research center on visual poetry, organizing exhibitions, meetings and other cultural events. In 1998 the Archivio di Nuova Scrittura was deposited in part at the Mart in Rovereto and in part at the Museion in Bozen. The artwork section of the ANS includes about 1,600 works by international artists at Mart and about 2,000 at Museion. The ANS archives preserve, apart from the internal archive of the association, the Fraccaro-Carrega fonds, containing the papers of collector Marco Fraccaro and visual poet Ugo Carrega. The library section, preserved at Mart, contains more than 18,000 volumes, among them 600 artist's books and hundreds of futurist first editions, and 600 art magazines including about 300 international artist's magazines.

Biancamaria Frabotta Italian writer (1946–2022)

Biancamaria Frabotta was an Italian writer. She promoted the study of women writers in Italy and her early poetry focused on feminist issues. The main themes of her later works are melancholy, the dichotomy between Nature and History and between Action and Contemplation, the relationship between the body and the self, and conjugal love. Besides essays on feminism and academic works on poets such as Giorgio Caproni, Franco Fortini, and Amelia Rosselli, she wrote plays, radio-dramas, a television show on Petrarch, and a novel. Until her retirement in 2016, she taught Modern Italian Literature at the University of Rome La Sapienza, where she previously received her Laurea degree.

Patrizia Vicinelli was an Italian poet, writer, artist and actress.

Francesco Leonetti was an Italian poet, novelist, art critic, teacher and political activist.

Grazia Verasani Italian writer and singer-songwriter (born 1964)

Grazia Verasani is an Italian writer and singer-songwriter. The author of novels, plays, and screenplays she is a musician who composes, performs, and records.


  1. Gino Moliterno, ed. (2005). Encyclopedia of Contemporary Italian Culturīe (PDF). London and New York: Routledge. ISBN   0-203-74849-2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 January 2015. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  2. "Alfabeta2, A Place For Cultural Intervention". The Blogazine. 10 May 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
  3. Best fiction to read 2014 The Telegraph.
  4. Nanni Balestrini Verso Books.
  5. Verso. Verso Books. June 2016. ISBN   9781784783686 . Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  6. Verso. Verso Books. February 2014. ISBN   9781781681695 . Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  7. Verso. Verso Books. January 2012. ISBN   9781844677672 . Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  8. Sandokan. Melville House Books. 1 November 2009.
  9. "Blackout (Nanni Balestrini)". Retrieved 21 May 2019.