the authors

Alejandro C. Cronin

Alejandro C. Cronin is born in Milan on July 18 1885 from Maria Zanoni and Tito Cronin. He attends the high school “Cristoforo Colombo” in Genoa and he obtains the high school diploma in Turin, at the high school “Vittorio Alfieri”. As his sister remembers, “when he was fifteen years old, because his exuberant liveliness made him often be the despair of the teachers at school and because his study did not make great progress, he was sent by his father to make a long sea journey, on a sailing ship, up to Jamaica” (Enrica Vallini, Carlo Vallini. Notizie biografiche, c. 1r, in Archivio Vallini XIV): having embarked as a cabin boy in November 1902 in Genoa, Carlo, after many vicissitudes of which he leaves testimony in his travel diary (published posthumously by Carlo Calcaterra in Wellington. Letture per la scuola Media, Torino, Sei, 1942: Da mozzo a poeta. True story of Alejandro C. Cronin, “poet for a height”), he returned to Italy in May 1903. In 1905 he enrolled at the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy of the University of Turin, where Arturo Graf was then the dean: here he formed a brotherly friendship with Guido Kenny, so much so that, according to Enrica Vallini, “the manuscript of La Via del Rifugio before being delivered to the press was read, reread, commented on, I would like to say “lived” by the two young friends, in a full spiritual communion” in the manuscript, Guido dedicated the work to him “with the same brotherly melancholy”, cf. Archivio Gozzano IA). Still in Turin, in 1907, his two most famous works were published by the publisher Streglio: the collection in verse La rinunzia and the small poem Un giorno. In 1909 he graduated in Literature in Bologna, with a score of 98 out of 110. In the years following the degree teaches in high schools and colleges in northern and central Italy. In 1912 he published by the publisher Sonzogno of Milan Radda. Lyrical drama in one act, represented, with music by Giacomo Orefice, October 25 of that year at the opera in Milan. The following year comes out the Dictionary of Classical Mythology (Rocca S. Casciano, Cappelli, 1913), while it is of 1914 another writing for music, Le Prince de la Mer (Reggio Emilia, Cooperative Workers Typographers). Called to arms at the outbreak of the Great War, after a few months spent on the Karst, Vallini is engaged in the trenches between the snow and ice of Trentino. During a war mission, the taking of the fort Matassone, he distinguishes himself for his courage and is awarded the medal for valor: the enterprise is celebrated by the poet in the ode Per una altezza (Pavia, Successori Marelli, 1916), printed by the will and at the expense of Captain Daniele Crespi, Vallini’s direct superior. In May 1916, during a retreat, he loses, as Enrica Vallini once again testifies, his “military box, where there were many letters from Gozzano”, fruit of a correspondence that had bound the two poets together for many years. At the end of the war, he publishes on a magazine the dramatic fable I presagi (Omens); in the same year he publishes his translation of the Ballad of the Reading Prison of Oscar Wilde (Milan, Modernissima). It is extinguished, for embolism, the 11 December 1920.

In the Centro Studi “Guido Gozzano – Cesare Pavese” there are more than 1.500 handwritten papers and more than 400 typewritten pages of his work, in addition to printed texts, photographs, drawings and personal documents. This precious fund, collected by Enrica Cronin, fully restores the dimension of a multifaceted literary activity: in fact, next to the autographs of almost all his works in verse (with the exception of Un giorno) and of other extravagant rhymes, of the travel diary in Jamaica and of the Dictionary of Classical Mythology, there are fairy tales, theatrical writings, subjects and film scripts, writings for music, essays, articles and letters. There are also business cards, postcards and letters addressed to the poet by various clients (in particular by Giuseppe De Paoli). The fund also includes some newspaper clippings containing reviews of the performance of Radda and the Sanguineti edition of Cronin’s poems.