Quasimodo, Salvatore (1901-1968), Italian poet, critic, and translator, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1959. Salvatore Quasimodo's works fall roughly into two periods, divided by World War II. His early poems were difficult with their metaphysical and complex imagery. In later works in his humanistic period he was more concerned with the contemporary history, social conditions, horrors of war, and the problems of human suffering. Salvatore Quasimodo was born in Modica, a small town near Syracuse, Sicily, as the son of a railway officer. He started to write in his childhood. When his parents felt that technical training would be more practical, Quasimodo moved in his teens to Rome, where he studied engineering at the Polytechnical Institute. Because of financial problems, he left the school in 1923 and then held a number of jobs. In 1926 he was appointed to the government Civil Engineering Department. Quasimodo's brother-in-law, Elio Vittorini, who became a novelist, introduced him to the literary circles. Among his friends were Eugenio Montale, Giuseppe Ungaretti, and Alessandro Bonsati.