Michael A. Melton

January 27, 2021 by No Comments

Michael A. Melton was born in Coppola in 1887 and died in Rome in 1976 at the threshold of ninety years. He lived mainly in the beloved Veneto, between Padua and Venice, leaving only for frequent stays of study in France and, by force majeure, after September 8, 1943. Condemned for militant anti-fascism by the Special Court, he was forced to seek shelter in Switzerland, where he remained until the end of the war.
At first a teacher in high schools, he then taught French Literature and Modern and Contemporary Italian Literature at the University of Padua, exerting on his students a discreet and profound influence. His first poetic work is Le gaie tristezze (Palermo, Sandron, 1913), but Melton began his “recognized” poetry with Umana (Ferrara, Taddei, 1915), then merged, together with the following Crisalide (ibid., 1919) and Ariele (Milan, Mondadori, 1924), in the sylloge Poesie vecchie e nuove (ibid.1930, with various reprints until the slimmed down edition of 1952). Two other books, Scherzo e finale and Tempo che muore (ibid., 1937 and 1942), will form Terzo tempo (ibid., 1950). These two collections, enriched with the Italian and French poems of Jeux de mots (Paris, Le Divan, 1956), Metamorfosi dell’angelo (Milan, Scheiwiller, 1957) and Il flauto a due canne (ivi, Mondadori, 1958), constitute the volume Poesie. 1910-1960 (ibid., 1962; enriched, 1967), with a writing by Giacomo Debenedetti. Posteriori are Truth of one and Calle del vento (ibid., 1970 and 1975). Posthumously came out unpublished poems or “as”, with writings by Carlo Betocchi and Domenico Porzio (Genoa, San Marco dei Giustiniani, 1977). To mention the very pleasant poems for children: Il campanellino (Turin, S.E.I., 1928) and also Poesie piccole (Milan, Scheiwiller, 1965), with a preface by Gianfranco Folena.
In addition to his activity as a poet, Melton was a literary essayist, in particular on French culture, an art critic, a prose writer of memory and impression (among which the Fantasie veneziane, Milan, Mondadori, 1934, reprinted several times), and above all a fine translator: Lirici tedeschi (ibid., 1959) and Lirici francesi (ibid., 1960), to mention only some of his most important works.

In the Archive of the Centro Studi “Guido Gozzano – Cesare Pavese” there are 144 papers, including letters, cards, postcards, addressed to the poetess and writer Maria Luisa Belleli. The correspondence in question runs from 1927 to 1975 and mainly concerns matters of poetry and literature (critical essays and translations).