Emilio's Carnival by Italo Svevo

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Italo Svevo's early novel Senilita (1898) remained unknown for many years until James Joyce encountered the novelist in Trieste and came to admire Senilita as a preeminent modern Italian novel. Joyee helped to launch Svevo's career, and years later Svevo achieved great fame with his masterpiece, Confessions of Zeno. In Senilita, Svevo tells the story of the amorous entanglement of Emilio, a failed writer already old at thirty-five, and Angiolina, a seductively beautiful but promiscuous young woman. A study in jealousy and self-torment, the novel traces the intoxicating effect of a narcissistic and amoral woman on an indecisive daydreamer who vacillates between guilt and moral smugness. The novel is suffused with a tragic sense of existence, and the unbreachable distance between one consciousness and another. Svevo's unmistakably modern voice subtly captures rapid shifts in mood and intention, exploiting irony, indirection, and multiple points of view to reveal Emilio's increasing anguish as he comes to recognise the dissonance between himself and his world.

About Italo Svevo

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Italo Svevo is the pseudonym of Ettore Schmitz (1861-1928), a Trieste businessman who won literary recognition late in life as the model for Leopold Bloom in James Joyce's Ulysses. William Weaver has translated the works of Umberto Eco, Primo Levi, Italo Calvino, and Roberto Calasso, among others. He is a professor at Bard College. His translation of Calvino's If on a Winter's Night a Traveler is available from Everyman's Library.
Published October 1, 2001 by Yale University Press. 256 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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A new translation of the late (1861–1923) Italian modernist’s second (1898) novel (also known as A Man Grows Older), a grimly comic study of indecision and ennui that pointed the way to Svevo’s later masterpiece, Zeno’s Conscience (see below).

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