Elémire Zolla (9 July 1926 – 29 May 2002 ) was an Italian essayist, philosopher and historian of religion. He was a connoisseur of esoteric doctrines and a scholar of Eastern and Western mysticism. Biography Zolla was born in Turin to a cosmopolitan family. His father was the painter Venanzio Zolla (1880–1961), born in England of Lombard father and an Alsatian mother. His mother was Blanche Smith (1885–1951) a British musician, originally of Kent . Zolla spent his childhood between Paris, London, and Turin, speaking English, French, and Italian, while studying German and Spanish. At age 22, he became ill with tuberculosis. During this illness he wrote a novel, Minuetto all’inferno [Minuet in Hell], published in 1956, which won the Strega Prize for a debut work. In 1957, he moved to Rome, where he worked in the drafting of Tempo presente [This Time]. In 1959, he published the essay Eclissi dell’intellettuale, an unconventional work in which, starting from a critique of mass society based on the analysis of Adorno and Horkheimer, also took a stand against political and cultural lobbies and progressive conformism. In 1958, after ten years of engagement, he married the poet Maria Luisa Spaziani, but the marriage cracked almost immediately. From 1959, he was tied to the writer Cristina Campo (born Victoria Guerrini), with whom he lived until her death in 1977. In 1980, he married Grace Marchianò, an orientalist and student of aesthetics. In 1960, through the intervention of Mario Praz, he obtained a post in Language and Anglo-American Literature at the University of Rome. His lectures were attended by, among others, the young Roberto Calasso. From 1967, he taught as a Professor at University of Catania, then to Genoa (where he also taught Germanic Philology) and, from 1974, back to Rome. From 1966 to 1968, he was secretary general of the Istituto Accademico di Roma and, from 1970 to 1973, was director of Istituto Ticinese di Alti Studi in Lugano. In 1968, after a trip to the Southwestern United States, he wrote a history of the image of the Indian in American literature, I letterati e lo sciamano [The Literary and The Shaman]. In later years he devoted himself to travel in India, Indonesia, China, Korea, and especially in Iran, which gave ample information in the book Aure. In January 1969, he founded the magazine Conoscenza Religiosa [Religious Knowledge] (published by Nuova Italia), which he directed until 1983. It featured writings by intellect. thanks wikipedia.
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