Franco Fortini was born in Florence in 1917, the son of a Jewish lawyer, Dino Lattes, and a Catholic mother, Emma Fortini Del Giglio. In 1940 he adopted his mother's last name to avoid racial persecution.
In 1941 he joined the Italian army as an officier. After September 8, 1943, he sought refuge in Switzerland (where he met European intellectuals, politicians and critics), then in 1944 he returned to fight with the partisans in Valdossola.
When the war was over he settled in Milan, working as journalist, copywriter and translator.
Soon after the Russian invasion of Hungary in 1956, Fortini left the Italian Socialist Party which he had joined in 1944. From 1964 to 1972 he taught in secondary schools, and from 1976 occupied the Chair of Literary Criticism at the University of Siena. During this period he had considerable influence on younger generations in search of social and intellecual change. He was considered one of the most important intellectuals of the Italian New Left. He died in Milan.
He was associated with some of the most important European writers and intellectuals, such as Sartre, Brecht, Barthes and Lukács.
Fortini translated works by Goethe, Brecht, Simon Weil, Milton, Proust, Kafka, Eluard, Frénaud, Flaubert, Gide and many others.
Fortini died in 1994.
[This text is adapted from the Wikipedia article found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franco_Fortini. The following link provides copyright information for the above text: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/]