Valerio Evangelisti author

On this day in history: author Valerio Evangelisti born

History of Italy News

Valerio Evangelisti, one of Italy’s most renowned contemporary authors was born in Bologna on 20th June 1952. Evangelisti’s career spanned several decades, during which he became a pivotal figure in Italian literature, particularly known for his “Nicolas Eymerich” series.

Evangelisti’s academic background significantly influenced his writing. He studied political science at the University of Bologna, where he later taught and conducted research. This scholarly foundation is evident in his meticulous attention to historical detail and his ability to weave complex, thought-provoking narratives. His deep understanding of history and politics provided a base upon which he could craft his stories.

The Nicolas Eymerich Series

The “Nicolas Eymerich” series is perhaps Evangelisti’s most celebrated work. It revolves around the real-life figure of Nicolas Eymerich, a 14th-century inquisitor. Evangelisti transformed Eymerich into a multifaceted character, navigating the murky waters of medieval Europe, filled with superstition, power struggles, and the clash between reason and faith.

The series, starting with “Nicolas Eymerich, inquisitore” (1994), delves into themes of power, morality, and the supernatural, blending historical events with speculative fiction.

Evangelisti’s portrayal of Eymerich is not merely that of a religious zealot. Instead, he is depicted as a complex, sometimes contradictory character, whose actions and beliefs reflect the tumultuous era he inhabits. This nuanced characterisation garnered Evangelisti critical acclaim and a dedicated readership, establishing the series as a cornerstone of modern Italian literature.

Beyond Eymerich

While the “Nicolas Eymerich” series brought Evangelisti widespread recognition, his literary prowess extended beyond it. He wrote numerous novels and short stories that explore a wide array of genres and themes. For instance, “Magus: Il Presagio” (1999), is one of a trilogy which is a romanticised biography of the famous Middle Ages writer of prophecies, Nostradamus.

“Il Collare di Fuoco” (2005) is set in Mexico. It is one of two novels based in the central American country, where Evangelisti had a second home.

Evangelisti’s work often reflected his interest in socio-political issues – he was a vocal Communist. His narratives critique contemporary societal norms and historical injustices.

Evangelisti’s Influence and Legacy

Valerio Evangelisti’s ability to blend historical accuracy with imaginative storytelling has set a benchmark for historical and speculative fiction. His works have been translated into multiple languages.

As a public intellectual, he engaged in various cultural and political debates, contributing to discussions on literature, history, and society. His lectures, essays, and interviews reveal a thinker deeply concerned with the human condition and the power dynamics that shape our world.

Valerio Evangelisti died aged 69 on 18th April 2022.

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