alain elkann interviews

Joel Mesler

HERE TO SERVE. Joel Mesler is an artist whose career in the art world started as an art dealer and gallerist.  A Master of Fine Arts graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute, Mesler worked for almost two decades as an art dealer in Los Angeles and New York City,...

Steve McQueen

WHO WE ARE AND WHERE WE ARE. Sir Steve McQueen CBE is a British film director, film producer, screenwriter, and video artist. Over the last 30 years he has created some of the most innovative works of moving image designed for gallery spaces. He has also directed...

Pauline Bebe

THE DIFFICULT HAPPINESS OF BEING JEWISH. Pauline Bebe is the rabbi of Communauté Juive Libérale (CJL), a Progressive Jewish congregation in Paris, where she was the first female rabbi to lead a synagogue.You can listen to the podcast of this interview here. Pauline...

Ambrogio Beccaria

POWER IS NOTHING WITHOUT CONTROL. Ambrogio Beccaria was born in Milan in 1991 and gained a degree in nautical engineering. In 2019 he became the first Italian in the history of sailing to win  the Mini-Transat – the historic solo competition that crosses the Atlantic...

Gaetano Pesce

Gaetano Pesce has just arrived in his office in downtown Manhattan at 543 Broadway. “I have lived in New York since 1980, for 34 years. I love the city, but this summer we have heavy rain all the time and it is quite inconvenient after the very cold winter we just...




New Alain Elkann Collection at the Cornell Library

IES faculty associate Kora von Wittelsbach, senior lecturer in Romance Studies, led the effort to bring the Alain Elkann Collection to the Cornell Library.

“I am proud and honored to have given a large part of my estate to the Cornell University Library – manuscripts, letters, drafts of my novels, interviews and short stories, first editions of my works, as well as the original tapes of my interviews, including those that were the basis for my long volume of conversations with Alberto Moravia,” Italian writer, journalist and public intellectual Alain Elkann told us. “I hope that my manuscripts and other documents can be of help to Cornell faculty and students who conduct research in Italian literature, especially Italian Jewish literature. I am equally proud that it is my U.S. translator, Kora von Wittelsbach, someone very familiar with my work, who regularly teaches it at Cornell, both in her Romance Studies and her Jewish Studies courses.”

Von Wittelsbach, who with the co-sponsorship of the Department of Romance Studies, the Jewish Studies Program, the French Studies Program and the Society for the Humanities, in the fall of 2019 organized Alain Elkann’s visit and a talk at Cornell, first approached the Library about the possibility of acquiring the collection at that time. Her efforts to bring the Elkann papers to Cornell were enthusiastically supported by colleagues from Romance Studies and Jewish Studies, and by the Cornell Institute for European Studies.

“Alain Elkann’s fiction is significantly informed by twentieth-century European history, especially by the experiences of Italian and French Jews, Elkann’s forebears, at home and abroad. His journalistic writings, however, and the scores of interviews he has conducted with artists, political or religious figures and famous thinkers, exhibit unlimited curiosity about the richness of human endeavor,” said Patrick Stevens, Curator in the Rare and Manuscript Collections and Selector for Jewish Studies.



Nonna Carla by Alain Elkann

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