The man who emerges from her pages is wry, self-deprecating, and resigned: a comic nihilist. A first draft was written in a matter of weeks in , but the novel took three years and many drafts to complete.
Writing shop Italian
The book was published—once again, at his own expense—in Now I am overcome by ambition. I have become eager for praise. I now live only to manage my own glory. I went to Paris The ville lumiere The only extraordinary thing was that it had not happened before.
- La coscienza di Zeno / Italo Svevo - Details - Trove;
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The history of literature was full of celebrated men who had not been famous quite from birth. At a given moment would appear among them the really great critic white beard, heavy brow, penetrating eye or maybe an intelligent businessman The inert mass of the people must be influenced first by one or more powerful minds who choose for them what they shall read.
It seems rather absurd, but there is no way out of it.
Even if the critic understands nothing but his own job, and the publisher the businessman does not even understand that, the result is the same. Once the two get together, even a quite undeserving author is made for the time being. Alfonso Nitti commits suicide; Emilio Brentani is indirectly responsible for the death of his sister; and Zeno, in spite of all his protestations, is implicated in the suicide of his brother-in-law, partner, and rival, Guido Speier.
Lies and delusion may be essential for happiness, Svevo seems to say, but, like smoking, they can have nasty consequences. Having pursued good health without success throughout his life, Zeno finds that his imaginary malady evaporates when the world around him is engulfed in death and destruction.
There will be an enormous explosion that no one will hear, and the earth, once again a nebula, will wander through the heavens, freed of parasites and sickness. It is both comedy and horror that that banishment will entail the end of the earth itself; it is also simply life. Svevo anticipated such absurdity: from a very young age, he knew better than most what life is really like.
He deserves to be read in order that we might better understand our weak and desirous selves, laughing and suffering at once.
ISBN 13: 9788845211966
Other Popular Editions of the Same Title. Einaudi, Softcover.
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Seller Rating:. What did Svevo have? Well, he wrote not with his head, but with his hand - by which I mean that he created, wrote and rewrote with an absence of artifice, in apparently total ignorance of the instrumentation of novel-writing. La coscienza di Zeno , a "confession" in the form of a patient's statement to his psychoanalyst, is the first and funniest of the great battles between literature and psychoanalysis for the right to define the importance of the human act.
Svevo, whose real name was Ettore Schmitz , reflecting his mixed German, Jewish and Italian heritage, was from the cosmopolitan port of Trieste - neither Austro-Hungarian nor fully Latin - and his critics at first dismissed him for writing "shop Italian".
Perversely, it was partly the simplicity of Svevo's Italian that earned him a reputation as a difficult author, because he hid his intentions so well that readers tended not to notice that they were reading something rather deep. In dividing the novel into chapters that each dealt with a conflict, and by restating conflict as muddle - Zeno's cigarette addiction, the death of his father, his marriage - he succeeded in never being explicit. His grasp of aphorism was strong and, although a lover of digressions, Zeno is capable of wonderful succinctness.
He begins the story of his marriage with the words: "In the mind of a young man from a middle-class family, the concept of human life is associated with that of a career, and in early youth the career is that of Napoleon I. Zeno is a charming creation, humble and vain, frank and prevaricating, admiring and jealous of those who appear to manage life better than he does. About affairs of the heart, he writes: "Guido, I knew for a fact, would on the contrary enjoy Carmen without giving Ada a thought.
In his carefree spirit, two women were no more than enough.