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Lanza del Vasto

Lanza del Vasto, (Giuseppe Giovanni Luigi Enrico Lanza di Trabia), (September 29 1901 - January 5 1981) was a philosopher, poet, artiste (scuptures, drawings) and a non-violent activist born in San Vito dei Normanni, Italy and died in Murcie, Spain.

Western disciple from Gandhi, he was convinced to act for inter-religious dialogue and spiritual renewal, ecologist activism, and non-violence.

Lanza del Vasto traveled a lot. He was a man of action as much as a philosopher. But overall, he was a pilgrim, prophetizing, constesting and protesting, fighting for many causes.

Table of contents
1 Youth in Italy
2 Meeting Gandhi
3 Foundation of the Ark
4 Non-violent struggles
5 Bibliography
6 Essays on Lanza del Vasto

Youth in Italy

Meeting Gandhi

In December 1936, Lanza went to India joining Gandhi which he knew by Romain Rolland's book.

He spent six months with the Mahatma, then in June 1937, went to the sources of the Ganga river in the Himalaya, a famous pilgrimage site. There he saw a vision who told him "Go back and found!"

He left then India and went back to Europe. In 1938, he went to Palestine, then in the mist of civil war, in Jerusalem and in Bethlehem, "between two lignes of tanks".

He come back to Paris at the time when the Second World War started. He wrote some poetry books and in 1943 the story of his trip to India, Return to the Sources, which became a huge success.

Foundation of the Ark

He founded the Community of the Ark in 1948 which first met a lot of difficuties. In 1954, he went back to India to participate to non-violent struggles with Vinoba.

In 1962, the Community of the Ark settles in Haut-Languedoc, in South of France, at the Borie Noble, near Lodève, in a deserted village.

Non-violent struggles

In 1957, during the Algerian war of independence, Lanza del Vasto started with other known people (General of Bollardière, François Mauriac, Robert Barrat, etc.) of movement of protest against torture. He fasted 21 days.

In 1958, Lanza went demonstrating against the nuclear power factory of Marcoule (France) which produced plutonium for atom bombs.

In 1963, he fasted 40 days in Rome during the Second Vatican Council asking the pope to stand against war.

French: "pour demander au pape de prendre position contre la guerre."

In 1972, he supported the farmers of the Larzac plateau against the extension of a military camp while fasting for 15 days. In 1974 a community of the Ark settled in the Larzac in a farmhouse bought by the army.

In 1976, he participated to the demonstrations against the building of a surgenerator at Creys-Malville, Isère (France).


Ballades aux Dames du temps présent, Paris, 1923.
Conquiste du Vento, Florence, 1927.
Fantasia Notturna, théâtre, Florence, 1927.
Judas, récit biblique, Grasset, 1938, Gallimard, 1992.

Le Chiffre des Choses, poésies, Robert Laffont, 1942.
Le Pélerinage aux Sources, Denoël, 1943, Gallimard, 1989, Le Rocher, 1993.
Dialogue de l'Amitié, avec Luc Dietrich (Laffont, 1942, 1993).
Choix, poésies, Le Seuil, 1944.
'La Marche des Rois, théâtre, R. Laffont, 1944.
Principes et préceptes du retour à l'évidence, Denoël, 1945, Le Rocher, 1996 sous le titre Eloge de la vie simple. La Baronne de Carins, bilingue, poème épique traduit du vieux sicilien, Le Seuil, 1946.
La Passion, théâtre, Grasset, 1951.
Commentaire de l'Evangile, Denoël, 1951, Le Rocher, 1994.
Histoire d'une amitié, dans L'Injuste Grandeur de Luc Dietrich, Denoël, 1951, Le Rocher, 1993.
Vinoba, ou le nouveau pélerinage, Denoël, 1954, Gallimard, 1982.
Préfaces aux huit ouvrages de la collection Pensée gandhienne, Denoël, 1985-1965.
Les Quatre Fléaux, philosophie, Denoël, 1959, Le Rocher, 1993. Pacification en Algérie, ou mensonge et violence, édition clandestine, 1960, L'Harmattan, 1988.
Approches de la Vie Intérieure, Denoël, 1962, Le Rocher, 1992.
Noé, théâtre, Denoël, 1965.
La Montée des âmes vivantes, Denoël, 1968.
L'Homme libre et les ânes sauvages, Denoël, 1969 et 1987.
La Trinité spirituelle, philosophie, Denoël, 1971, Le Rocher, 1994.
Technique de la non-violence, Denoël, 1971, Gallimard, 1988. L'Arche avait pour voilure une vigne, Denoël, 1978, 1982. Etymologies imaginaires, Denoël, 1985.

David Berger, théâtre, Lion de Judas, 1988.
Pour éviter la fin du monde, Le Rocher, 1991.
Le Viatique, 2 tomes, Le Rocher, 1991.
Les Quatre Pilliers de la paix, Le Rocher, 1992.
Le Grand Retour, Le Rocher, 1993.
Pages d'enseignement, Le Rocher, 1993.

Essays on Lanza del Vasto

Qui est Lanza del Vasto, par Jacques Madaule, Lanza del Vasto, par Arnaud de Mareuil (Seghers, 1965)
Dialogues avec Lanza del Vasto, par René Doumerc (Albin Michel)
Les Facettes de Cristal, entretiens avec Claude-Henri Roquet (Le Centurion)
Lanza del Vasto, sa vie, son œuvre, son message, par Arnaud de Mareuil (Dangles)

See also