Luciana Castellina is one of Italy's most prominent left intellectuals and a cofounder of the newspaper il manifesto. In this coming-of-age memoir, based on her diaries, she recounts her political awakening as a teenage girl in Fascist Italy—where she used to play tennis with Mussolini's daughter—and the subsequent downfall of the regime. Discovery of the World is about war, anti-Semitism, anti-fascism, resistance, the belief in social justice, the craving for experience, travel, political rallies, cinema, French intellectuals and FIAT workers, international diplomacy and friendship. All this is built on an intricate web made of reason and affection, of rational questioning and ironic self-narration as well as of profound nostalgia, disappointment and discovery.
“An anti-heroic account, a depiction of a sentimental education nourished by passion, curiosity and the levity of life, and with an eager sincerity always bursting forth.”
“A most beautiful book built around the themes of a diary from the years 1943–47.”
“Luciana Castellina tells her story with levity and not a hint of narcissism, while making fun at the expense of Togliatti, Guttuso and Pajetta.”
“As long as there are lives and testimonies like that of Luciana Castellina's La scoperta del mondo, we will not be in total darkness.”