Articoli per la categoria “Characters”
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Giuseppe Tucci in Youth Without Youth by F. Ford Coppola: A Must See

Back in 2007, long before I published the first biography on Tucci, L’esploratore del Duce (1st ed. 2012), I watched the movie Youth Without Youth, written and directed here in Milan by F. Ford Coppola

I found the film, and still do, to be very moving. It is a reworking of a novel, of the same name, by the Romanian historian of religion, Mircea Eliade. The film features Dominique Matei as its central protagonist (and indeed, the English translation and the introduction of the novel was written by Matei Calinescu) and is a true glorification of the Oriental disciplines. What’s amazing is that the girlfriend of Dominique, after undergoing shock, begins to speak Sanskrit. And who do they call in as an interpreter? Giuseppe Tucci himself—a friend, in real life, of Mircea Eliade.

In Youth without Youth, Tucci is defined as the highest authority of European Sanskrit and Buddhist philosophy—which indeed was the case. He was also presented as the president of IsMEO—which, though its doors are now shut, was at time of the film (in the mid-to-late 1930s) quite prosperous and active.

In truth, the founder and president of the powerful institute of IsMEO was Senator Giovanni Gentile, until his murder in April 1944, by a partisan group. Tucci, instead, served as its executive vice president, until his purge and the compulsory administration of the institute, in 1944. In fact IsMEO and Rome had been elected by the Duce as the “spiritual and ideal guide of Italy and the world.” This is the reason why I call Tucci the explorer, scholar and political “Indiana Jones” of Mussolini.

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Il Duce's Explorer, Giuseppe Tucci - The Book Cover!

One could hardly imagine a richer and more exciting life than that of Giuseppe Tucci (1894-1984), a scholar who may rightly be considered one of the fathers of modern Oriental Studies and the central protagonist of Fascist cultural policy in Asia.

From his first expeditions to the valleys and peaks of the Himalayas and the plains of the Ganges, to his encounters with scholars and leaders such as Gandhi, Tagore, the Dalai Lama, Subhas Chandra Bose, and Giulio Andreotti, to his role as Mussolini’s spokesman in Japan — Tucci’s is a human and intellectual adventure tied inextricably to the history of modern Italy, which he himself helped to forge. An adventure that can now be retraced in the pages of this book.

Tucci cover Il Duce's Explorer

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Giovanni Gentile and Giulio Andreotti, Tucci's Supporters

CAFFE' DELLA VERSILIANAAmong Tucci’s notable friends are Giovanni Gentile (1875-1944) and Giulio Andreotti (1919-2013).

Gentile was an Italian philosopher, politician, and close friend of Benito Mussolini. Giulio Andreotti (pictured above) served as a top politician for 40 years, the 41st Prime Minister of Italy, and leader of the Christian Democracy party (Democrazia Cristiana).

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Tucci and the Royal Preceptor Hem Raj Sharma of Nepal

download (1)Tucci was a famous man and to address his life is to address the lives of the countless famous others with whom he crossed paths.

The Royal Preceptor, pandit Hem Raj Sharma, to start, whom, in 1957, the great Buddhologist and Indologist, Rahul Sankrityayan, referred to as, «the encyclopedia of Nepal». His immense library – the largest private library of central and southern Asia – his teachings, his advice, and his political mediation proved an indispensable aid to Tucci.

His immense collection of books and manuscripts is the core of the Nepal National Library, (in photo) established in 1957 after hem Raj’s heirs sold it to the government.

© Copyright Enrica Garzilli 2014

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© Copyright 2012-2015 Enrica Garzilli. All rights reserved.