Below, the entries for 22nd-25th March from Cesare Pavese‘s diaries, published in English as The Business of Living (I would like to offer you a translator but incredibly, my edition, put out by Transaction Publishers, doesn’t say who translated the book, which originally appeared as Il mestiere di vivere after the author’s death. My edition has an introduction by John Taylor but since he refers to this edition as “welcome”, I doubt he translated it. Any suggestions, folks? It’s a shame to whoever translated this magnificent book). I have owned the German equivalent in different translations for a while and while it’s not without its flaws (such as a strand of low-key misogyny that is threaded through it), it’s always been in many ways an important book for me.
There are many things I have not told her. Deep down my terror at the thought of losing her now is not a longing for “possession,” but the feat that I shall never more be able to tell her those things. What they may be I do not now know, but they would pour out like a torrent if I were with her. That is creation. Oh God, make me find her again.
Love is truly the great manifesto; the urge to be, to count for something, and, if death must come, to die valiantly, with acclamation – in short, to remain a memory. Yet my desire to die, to disappear, is still bound up with her: perhaps because she is so magnificently alive that, if my being could blend with hers, my life would have more meaning than before.
One does not kill oneself for love of a woman, but because love -any love- reveals us in our nakedness, our misery, our vulnerability, our nothingness.