“I should be perfectly happy if it were not for the fleeting pain of trying to probe the secret of that happiness, so as to be able to find it again tomorrow and always. But perhaps I am confused and my happiness lies in that pain. Once more I find myself hoping that, tomorrow, the memory will suffice.”
Cesare Pavese’s diaries, written from 1935-1941, undress the brain of a deeply (self-)critical writer. The diaries, written partially during Pavese’s exile in Southern Italy, oscillate between the intellectual intimacy of a David Foster Wallace interview and the salty innuendo of Ernesto Sabato’s non-fiction — displaying, in both cases, a deeply pessimistic undertone. Pavese, a staunch antifascist, would commit suicide in 1950. Here are a couple of excerpts from the diaries, translated by A.E. Murch.