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Finding aid for the Luciano Folgore papers, 1890-1966
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Separated Material
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Luciano Folgore papers
    Date (inclusive): 1890-1966
    Number: 910141
    Creator/Collector: Folgore, Luciano, 1888-1966
    Physical Description: 28.5 linear feet (45 boxes)
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
    (310) 440-7390
    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 matter.
    Request Materials: Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog record  for this collection. Click here for the access policy .
    Language: Collection material is in Italian

    Biographical/Historical Note

    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 Lacerba, 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 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.

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Luciano Folgore papers, 1890-1966, Getty Research Institute, Research Library, Accession no. 910141.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired in 1991.

    Processing History

    The Luciano Folgore Papers were processed and described in 1995 by Annette Leddy.

    Separated Material

    The following books and periodicals, found among the Folgore Papers, are currently catalogued in the Getty Research Library.
    Daudet, Alphonse, L'Immortel, undated Folgore, Luciano, Favolette e strambotti Comoedia, 1924. Il Travaso delle Idee, 28 issues, 1929-59. L'Urbe, 1966. 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.

    Arrangement note

    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

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Topics

    Futurism (Art)
    Futurism (Literary movement)
    Radio programs for children--Italy
    Television programs for children--Italy

    Subjects - Titles

    Eu terpein Ponti sull'oceano

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Clippings (information artifacts)


    Savinio, Alberto, 1891-1952