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(10/31/2008) A Life by Italo Svevo. New York. 1963. Knopf. Translated From The Italian By Archibald Colquhoun. keywords: Literature Translated Italy Trieste. 398 pages. Cover art: Milton Glaser.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Originally published in 1892, A LIFE was the first novel by Italo Svevo, who is now ranked by Italian critics as one of their greatest novelists. As admirers of THE CONFESSIONS OF ZENO and AS A MAN GROWS OLDER know, Svevo was a writer outside and ahead of his age, and they will be fascinated to encounter here the first incarnation of the Svevo anti- hero in Alfonso Nitti, a vulnerable young man from the provinces struggling to make his way as a correspondence clerk in a Trieste bank. As was Zeno, Alfonso is like a mouse forever running inside a wheel, forever failing to get out; and it is Svevo's ability to write from within that makes Alfonso's involvement with his employer's daughter, and the ceaseless tug-of-war between his imagined world and that of external realities, so engrossing. Svevo's conception of life as an irony and his artistic use of psychology make him a novelist not only absorbing and disturbing, but one who is - in a very special way contemporary.

 

 

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