Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Luciano Folgore papers
Date (inclusive): 1890-1966
Collection number: 910141
Folgore, Luciano, 1888-1966
28.5 linear ft.
Getty Research Institute
Special Collections and Visual Resources
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles, CA 90049-1688
Abstract: A comprehensive collection of materials
tracing the career and work of prolific Futurist writer, Luciano Folgore,
covering his involvement in that movement as well as his later pioneering work
in Italian children's radio and television. The archive comprises a large
volume of his manuscripts of poetry, theater, and prose, in addition to
correspondence, clippings, photographs, books, and other printed and related
Language: Collection material in
Open for use by qualified researchers.
Luciano Folgore papers, 1890-1966, Getty Research Institute,
Research Library, Accession no. 910141.
Acquired in 1991.
The Luciano Folgore Papers were processed and described in 1995 by
The following books and periodicals, found among the Folgore Papers,
are currently catalogued in the Getty Research Library.
Favolette e strambotti
Il Travaso delle Idee, 28 issues,
Mercure de France, 1998.
Mercure de France, 1901;
La voce, 1962.
Luciano Folgore was born in 1889; his family name was Vecchi and his
parents named him Omero. As if in response to this name (Old Homer), he showed,
very early, a talent for verse and began having poems regularly accepted for
publication at the age of fifteen. While these first poems were of a
traditional rhymed and metered form, by 1908 Vecchi had become a Futurist who
wrote in the avant-garde mode. Accordingly, he adopted a pseudonym, Luciano
Folgore (light/lightening bolt). From 1909 to 1919, he actively participated in
all the Futurist events and battles as a member of Marinetti's inner circle. He
also published three volumes of Futurist poetry:
Il Canto dei Motori (1912),
Ponti sull'Oceano (1914), and
Città veloce (1919).
In 1919, Folgore distanced himself from the Futurists, perhaps in
response to their increasingly explicit political alliances, without ever
denouncing or personally rejecting them. He became a humorist, publishing the
two volumes of poetic parodies which critics consider his best work,
Poeti contraluce (1922) and
Poeti allo specchio (1926). He later
published a parody of Italian novelists,
Novellieri allo specchio (1935). During
the 1920s, '30s, and '40s, Folgore regularly gave talks on humor that included
passages from these volumes; eventually he delivered these talks on the
Folgore had a parallel career as a newspaper editor and columnist.
During his Futurist period, he wrote for
La Voce, and other avant-garde
publications. From the '20s through the '50s he was on the staff of
Il Travaso, while contributing humor
pieces to several other Italian newspapers. From 1918 through 1954 he had a
weekly column in
La Tribuna Illustrata entitled "Musa
Vagabonda." This column, for which Folgore adopted another pseudonym, "Esopino"
(Little Aesop), was written in the form of a rhymed, metered humor poem, and
these poems were incorporated into Folgore's talks.
Folgore was also a dramatist. During his Futurist period, he wrote
pantomimes and ballets which were performed by the Teatro della Pantomima
Futurista. He subsequently wrote dozens of plays, many of them one acts, but a
number of them full-length, the most well-known of which was
Piovuta dal cielo (1941). In the 1950s,
he collaborated with composers in writing musicals.
Beginning in the 1940s and continuing for the rest of his life,
Folgore wrote radio scripts for children's serial programs such as
Il segretario dei piccoli,
Radio Lilliput, and
La bacchetta magica, as well as numerous
special programs. These scripts often featured poems for children, which were
collected in volumes such as
Mamma voglio l'arcobaleno (1947) and
É arrivato un bastimento (1960). He also
wrote scripts for children's television programs.
Finally, Folgore was a translator. He translated and adapted works by
Calderon, Shakespeare, Dickens, Pushkin, Kataieff, and others. He also
translated and gave readings of Latin American poets of the post-war
Folgore died in 1966, by which time he had published more than twenty
books, including poetry and short story collections, two novels, and
collections of epigrams and fables. He had written at least seventy plays, a
thousand radio and television scripts, and a thousand newspaper columns or
articles. While little of this work is considered of lasting literary
significance, Folgore's productivity was, apparently, a psychological necessity
for him. Afflicted with chronic melancholia, Folgore confessed that the only
way he could face a new day was to begin, while shaving, to compose a poem or
epigram in his head.
Scope and Content of Collection
The Luciano Folgore Papers (1905-1966) disclose the development of a
writer who was one of Futurism's inner circle in his youth, turned to humor
writing in middle age, and became, finally, a children's radio and television
scriptwriter. Nearly everything the very prolific Folgore wrote is present in
the archive, often in both handwritten and typewritten drafts. Among the books
not represented in any form are
Novellieri allo specchio,
La trappola colorata,
Nuda ma dipinta, and
Mia cugina la luna.
From Folgore's Futurist period, there is correspondence with fellow
Futurists, sometimes spanning several decades, Futurist poetry, including
partial handwritten drafts of
Ponti sull'oceano (1914) and
Città veloce (1919), and Futurist
pantomimes and ballets. Prose manuscripts include one Futurist manifesto and
also provide glimpses of Marinetti from the viewpoint of a disciple who later
left the movement, apparently without ill feeling. Clippings reviewing Futurist
performances and exhibitions offer a sense of audience reception during the
period. There are also photographs of Futurists, some of which are signed.
At least half of the correspondence dates from after Folgore's
Futurist period, and includes items from fellow writers, publishers, and fans
of Folgore's radio programs. The greater part of poetry, theater, fiction, and
prose manuscripts are post-Futurist, including the handwritten draft of a novel
and full-length plays. The hundreds of radio and television plays serve to
document the early years of Italian mass media; books and other printed matter
reveal source material for these plays. Post-Futurist photographs include views
of Folgore's later professional life.
The Papers are organized in 6 series:
Radio programs for
Television programs for
Genres and Forms of Material
1888-1966. Ponti sull'oceano
1891-1952. Eu terpein