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Beppe Severgnini

 

Beppe Severgnini
Beppe Severgnini
Beppe Severgnini

Beppe Severgnini is a writer and journalist who writes for several Italian newspapers. Born on 26 December 1956 at Crema, he graduated from a classics-oriented secondary school and obtained his degree in law at Pavia. After a training period in Brussels, he was London correspondent for Indro Montanelli’s Il Giornale (1984 - 1988) and thereafter, special correspondent in Eastern Europe, Russia and China (1988 - 1992). He has also worked for The Economist in London and served as Washington correspondent for La Voce. Since 1998, Severgnini has written a very popular daily column for the Corriere della Sera called ‘Italians’, which has today grown into a widely read website and often features emails from Italian expatriates. Severgnini teaches at the Walter Tobagi School of Journalism at the University of Milan/IFG and has been a research fellow/writer in residence at the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). In 2001, he was made Officer of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth II.

Most of Severgnini’s books are about Italy and Italians, and his is an often tongue-in-cheek but perceptive take on the Italian way of life. Many have been bestsellers and include books best defined as ‘cultural portraits’: Un italiano in America (An Italian in America), Manuale dell’uomo domestico, La Bella Figura (La Bella Figura: A Field Guide to the Italian Mind), La testa degli italiani; travel books such as Italiani con la valigia and Manuale dell’imperfetto viaggiatore and books on language such as L’inglese. Lezioni semiserie and L’italiano. Lezioni semiserie. In 2011, Severgnini published Mamma Mia! in which he attempts to explain ‘Berlusconi’s Italy to posterity and friends abroad’. The reporter had spent a year in the US and in An Italian in America tackles American customs and mores with his characteristic wit and insight; the portrait that emerges is idiosyncratic but recognizably true. In La Bella Figura, translated into several languages, Severgnini turns his attention to his own country and attempts to decode the Italian psyche and the many paradoxes of life in Italy: the famous Italian aversion to obedience, the weakness for beauty and surface appeal (the ‘bella figura’ of the title), the obsession with gadgets, especially cell phones, the national fixation with good food and enjoyment and the near universal frustration with the Government and public systems.

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