Dino Buzzati’s 50th death anniversary: an appraisal of medicine and infectivology’s influence on his literary production

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Donatella Lippi
Elena Varotto https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6637-9402
Simon Donell
Francesco Maria Galassi


Dino Buzzati; literature; medical humanities; infectious diseases; Italy; history of medicine


Background and aim: This paper, in the 50th anniversary of the author’s death, examines the overall impact and influence of medicine, in particular of infectious diseases, on the literary production of Italian writer and novelist Dino Buzzati (1906-1972). Methods: Analysis of literary sources and historical study. Results and conclusions: Buzzati’s literary world is great fun for the reader, being both intriguing and anxiety forming at the same time. One finishes reading his books only to discover the one truth which overturns everything that seemed to be true. In particular, in his short stories, which stem mostly from episodes taken from everyday life, the plot suddenly comes to life. The atmosphere becomes surreal, and in a moment the incredible happens. Behind the apparent lightness of the fairytale narrative there lies hidden the important issues addressed by the author. He uses the hospital as a metaphor for a categorised life, in which we are at risk of no longer being masters of ourselves, in which we suffer a continuous steady drip that makes us head downwards day after day, floor after floor. We will come back up, but not today, tomorrow perhaps, or at the latest, the day after tomorrow. Corte on the second floor hopes, and screams to give strength to his hope, that he will soon return to the top, towards the seventh floor.


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