Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Luciano Folgore papers
Date (inclusive): 1890-1966
Folgore, Luciano, 1888-1966
28.5 linear feet
The Getty Research Institute
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
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 matter.
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Language: Collection material is in
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 radio.
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
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
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 period.
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.
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 Annette Leddy.
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, 1929-59.
Mercure de France, 1998.
Mercure de France, 1901; 1921.
La voce, 1962.
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:
Series I: Correspondence
Series II: Manuscripts
Series III: Music
Series IV: Personal
Series V: Manuscripts by other authors
Series VI: Printed matter
Subjects - Topics
Futurism (Literary movement)
Radio programs for children--Italy
Television programs for children--Italy
Subjects - Titles
Genres and Forms of Material
Clippings (information artifacts)
Savinio, Alberto, 1891-1952