Who are Giovanni Guareschi and Don Camillo?
You’re kidding, right? 🙂 Okay, here goes: Guareschi was an Italian political journalist who lived from 1908-1968, and Don Camillo is a fictional character he created for a series of stories which ended up becoming very well known. In the stories, Don Camillo, a Catholic priest, carries on a friendly enmity with Peppone, the Communist mayor of his little village, during the height of the Cold War. The hot-headed priest consults frequently with the Christ on the altar cross in his church, and the reader is privy to the Lord’s often provocative answers.
Why do I sometimes see the author’s name written as “Giovannino” Guareschi?
Because that was his real name! “Giovannino,” is usually a diminutive of “Giovanni” (in English, the two names would be “Johnny” and “John,” respectively), so it’s not surprising that many people simply assumed that the name on “Nino” Guareschi’s birth certificate must be the more formal “Giovanni.” Included among those who got it wrong were the author’s publishers, and that’s why the name on your edition’s dust jacket may read “Giovanni Guareschi.” The publishers were made aware of their error and eventually switched to using “Giovannino” in Italy and much of Europe, but no move was ever made to correct things for the English-speaking audience (for fear of confusing loyal readers and losing sales, I suppose). Continue reading