Il Gattopardo

Il GattopardoThe Leopard Is A Story Of A Decadent And Dying Aristocracy Threatened By The Forces Of Revolution And Democracy Set Against The Political Upheavals Of Italy In The S, It Focuses On Don Fabrizio, A Sicilian Prince Of Immense Sensual Appetites, Wealth, And Great Personal Magnetism Around This Powerful Figure Swirls A Glittering Array Of Characters A Bourbon King, Liberals And Pseudo Liberals, Peasants And Millionaires So the last shall be first, and the first last for many be called, but few chosen Matthew 20 16 The Leopard is a novel about the first becoming last and the last first Plants were growing in thick disorder on the reddish clay flowers sprouted in all directions, and the myrtle hedges seemed put there to prevent movement rather than guide it At the end a statue of Flora speckled with yellow black lichen exhibited her centuries old charms with an air of resignation on each side were benches holding quilted cushions, also of gray marble and in a corner the gold of an acacia tree introduced a sudden note of gaiety Every sod seemed to exude a yearning for beauty soon muted by languor.Aristocracy still enjoys luxury but the process of decline has already set in and it is irrevocable.The wealth of many centuries had been transmitted into ornament, luxury, pleasure no the abolition of feudal rights had swept away duties as well as privileges wealth, like an old wine, had let the dregs of greed, even of care and prudence, fall to the bottom of the barrel, leaving only verve and color And thus eventually it cancelled itself out this wealth which had achieved its object was composed now only of essential oils and, like essential oils, it soon evaporated.The book is full of light irony and it is written in a charming manner The author s observations are precise and sharp.Similar to floods, that set afloat all the litter and trash, revolutions raise to the surface all the opportunists, timeservers and speculators who immediately hurry to leave everybody else behind and become the first. Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa ,. Back in 1958, Feltrinelli Editore in Milan brought out a historical novel by an obscure Palermitan aristocrat who had died only the previous year Prince Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa s posthumous, unfinished work Il Gattopardo The Leopard was at once hailed a masterpiece I wholehearted agree with that It possesses the luxurious descriptive and analytic power not simply of one of the most beguiling 20th century novels, but one of the modern world s definitive political fictions Lampedusa s novel, that chronicles the struggle of the Sicilian aristocracy to survive in the face of change features one of the great irresistible creations the Prince of Salina A giant of a man in stature who unconsciously bends cutlery and crushes ornaments when he is in a dark mood, he is a Prince just about as seductive as they come Against all our prejudices, we empathise with his subtle, undeceived and fatalistic attempts to preserve his family s virtually feudal power at the time of the Risorgimento, the unification of Italy, in 1860 The Leopard s proclamation that everything must change so that everything can stay the same has become an ironic historical maxim quoted again and again to describe Sicily, the nature of history, and the resourceful ways of power.Lampedusa set his novel at the precise moment when Sicily came into direct contact with the forward movement of history, the history of nations, or progress, of democracy and social justice His principal characters are His Excellency, Don Fabrizio, who is an excellent horseman, a tireless shot, and a fair womaniser, along with the rest of his family circle After an opening chapter which gets us acquainted with Salina family, they remove themselves to one of the family s semi feudal estates, Donnafugata, where The Prince s adopted nephew, the irresistible but penniless Tancredi Falconieri, falls for Angelica, the beautiful daughter of upwardly mobile middle class politico Don Calogero, thereby dashing the amorous hopes of Concetta, Don Fabrizio s daughter All the while political disturbance is taking place in the background, which The Prince tends to just shake off After a lavish ball is held in Palermo and attended by the Salina family, the change they couldn t foresee, slowly starts to creep in.The Leopard has the feeling of an immortal book, that kisses full on the mouth Its major theme the workings of mortality is explored with an intelligence and poignancy that I have rarely come across The characters truly are living beings, blemished with niggling inconsistencies, just like everyone else Lampedusa s Sicily, a mixture of bed bugs and dust, and chandeliers and chapels, is almost like a morbidly seductive guidebook to the island, revelling in its glamour and despair We are at times shut away with the Prince in a cool palace as he ponders on choices that need to be made marrying his ambitious but penniless nephew Tancredi to a nouveau riche beauty, but refusing the offer of a seat in the new national Senate which in the long term seems pointless In the long run, his class is doomed.The narrative voice possesses perfect pitch, achieving omniscience without blunting the novel s surprises, and even smuggling in glimpses of the future Lampedusa constructs gorgeous symbols, not so subtle that you miss them if you blink, not so obvious that they clobber you Everything simply comes together in such an irresistible way, that I am trying to find fault, somewhere, anywhere, within these pages, but it s a struggle I am not suggesting this is the most perfectly rounded novel I have ever read, nor would it likely work it s way into my favourite ten or twenty novels, but I didn t hesitate for second in dishing out the five stars It s a work that doesn t shy away from difficult truths It s utterly authentic and sincere, and even though I had concerns beforehand about it s complexity, it s actually quite easy to read.All in all this is a literary banquet of only the finest Produce. Any words of mine about this famous book would be superfluous, so I thought I d just add some images to the beautiful opening paragraphNUNC ET IN hora mortis nostrae Amen The daily recital of the Rosary was over For half an hour the steady voice of the Prince had recalled the Sorrowful and the Glorious Mysteries for half an hour other voices had interwoven a lilting hum from which, now and again, would chime some unlikely word love, virginity, death and during that hum the whole aspect of the rococo drawing room seemed to change even the parrots spreading iridescent wings over the silken walls appeared abashed even the Magdalen between the two windows looked a penitent and not just a handsome blonde lost in some dubious daydream as she usually was Now, as the voices fell silent, everything dropped back into its usual order or disorder Bendic , the Great Dane, grieved at exclusion, came wagging its tail through the door by which the servants had left The women rose slowly to their feet, their oscillating skirts as they withdrew baring bit by bit the naked figures from mythology painted all over the milky depths of the tiles Only an Andromeda remained covered by the soutane of Father Pirrone, still deep in extra prayer, and it was some time before she could sight the silvery Perseus swooping down to her aid and her kiss The divinities frescoed on the ceiling awoke The troops of Tritons and Dryads, hurtling across from hill and sea amid clouds of cyclamen pink towards a transfigured Conca d Oro and bent on glorifying the House of Salina, seemed suddenly so overwhelmed with exaltation as to discard the most elementary rules of perspective meanwhile the major Gods and Goddesses, the Princes among Gods, thunderous Jove and frowning Mars and languid Venus, had already preceded the mob of minor deities and were amiably supporting the armorial shield of the Leopard They knew that for the next twenty three and a half hours they would be lords of the villa once again On the walls the monkeys went back to pulling faces at the cockatoos. Of course I can t leave it at that I have to add a few words after all, but really just a few An aspect of Giuseppe di Lampedusa s writing I really enjoyed was the way he gives life to inanimate objects, so I was on the look out for other examples besides the ones in that extraordinary first paragraph But it was the arrival of two young men in love which really awoke the instincts lying dormant in the house and these now showed themselves everywhere, like ants woken by the sun, no longer poisonous, but livelier than ever Even the architecture, the rococo d cor itself, evoked thoughts of fleshly curves and taut erect breasts and every opening door seemed like a curtain rustling in a bed alcoveAnd here s another one The two telescopes and three lenses were lying there quietly, dazed by the sun, with black pads over the eyepieces, like well trained animals who knew their meal was only given them at night.Even death is endowed with sensuous life Suddenly amid the group appeared a young woman slim, in brown travelling dress and wide bustle, with a straw hat trimmed with a speckled veil which could not hide the sly charm of her face She slid a little su de gloved hand between one elbow and another of the weeping kneelers, apologised, drew closer It was she, the creature for ever yearned for, coming to fetch him strange that one so young should yield to him the time for the train s departure must be very close When she was face to face with him she raised her veil, and there, chaste but ready for possession, she looked lovelier than she ever had when glimpsed in stellar space The crashing of the sea subsided altogether.Coincidently, one of my other favourite passages is also associated with death, and manages, like the previous piece, to be sensuous and serious at the same timethe Prince liked Diego Ponteleone s library and soon felt at his ease there it did not oppose his taking possession for it was impersonal as are rooms little used Ponteleone was not a type to waste his time in there He began looking at a picture opposite him, a good copy of Greuze s Death of the Just Man the old man was expiring on his bed amid welters of clean linen, surrounded by afflicted grandsons, and by granddaughters raising arms towards the ceiling The girls were pretty, and provoking and the disorder of their clothes suggested sex than sorrow they, it was obvious at once, were the real subject of the picture Even so Don Fabrizio was surprised for a second at Diego always having this melancholy scene before his eyes then he reassured himself by thinking that the other probably entered that room only once or twice a year Immediately afterwards he asked himself if his own death would be like that probably it would, apart from the sheets being less impeccable he knew that the sheets of those in their death agony are always dirty with spittle, ejections, medicine marks and it was to be hoped that Concetta, Carolina and his other women folk would be decently clad But the same, or less As always the thought of his own death calmed him as much as that of others disturbed him was it perhaps because, when all was said and done, his own death would in the first place mean that of the whole worldA final few words there were interesting shifts in the narrative, shifts which can make a reader dizzy, thinking, where am I, what s going on here For example, the episode where a tragic reference from the twentieth century is used to describe one of the many sensuality laden moments in this nineteenth century story It happens when the Prince s future niece in law, Angelica, sumptuous as that name from Ariosto, who had recently disturbed the peace of the Salina household, arrives in the palace after her surprising betrothal to his nephew, Tancredi She sloughed off her father in the entrance hall then with a swirl of wide skirts floated lightly up the numerous steps of the inner staircase and flung herself into the arms of Don Fabrizio on his whiskers she implanted two big kisses which were returned with genuine affection the Prince paused perhaps just a second longer than necessary to breathe in the scent of gardenia on adolescent cheeks After this Angelica blushed, took half a step back I m so, so happy then came close again, stood on tiptoe, and murmured into his ear Nuncle a highly successful line, comparable in its perfect timing to Eisenstein s business with the pram, and which, explicit and secret as it was, set the Prince s simple heart aflutter and yoked him to the lovely girl for ever.Eisenstein s business with the pram is the long scene from his film The Battleship Potemkin 1925 which shows a baby s pram careening down numerous steps during the Cossack massacre of civilians in Odessa.Fortunately, there were other references that worked better for me than that one, as when the Prince and his faithful gamekeeper trudge home after a day s shooting, and the author chooses to travel back several centuries in search of a suitable reference to describe the scene As they climbed down towards the road, it would have been difficult to tell which of the two was Don Quixote and which Sancho Panza.Perfect. . In this story we meet Don Fabrizio Corbera, Prince of Salina, one of the most important aristocrats of the island of Sicily A leopard appears on the coat of arms of the Salina family, a symbol that will accompany the prince throughout his life Don Fabrizio sees at a distance the melancholy of the end of an era that marks the landing of Garibaldi in Sicily.The Prince of Salina and the aristocracy he represents is nearing an end and the bureaucrats and the bourgeoisie take advantage of the new political situation with the emerging new social classes that will bring the unification of Italy Belonging to a long standing family ancestry he feels indignant to know that his nephew Tancredi Falconeri is fighting in the ranks of Garibaldi, but he is very opportunistic and flexible to adapt to the new times, although it is also reassuring that at least his nephew will not be reduced to social and political insignificance.As with each new summer, the Prince of Salina and his family moved to the summer residence they have in Donnafugata, where he meets a new mayor, a bourgeois borrower, who has made a career as a politician His daughter Angelica is a young woman of great beauty, to whom Tancredi expresses interest in marriage, although he had already tried his cousin, daughter of the prince Tancredi asks his uncle to intercede before Angelica s father that he approve of his marriage. Let s make one thing quite clear I do not in any way claim to be objective, nor am I interested in ever being so On the contrary, I delight in my opinions, and importantly taking great lengths in ameliorating and deconstructing them in what I am aiming to be a neverending endeavor What I wish for are thoughts and ideals that I both explicate upon and hold fast to, as well as an inherent sensitivity to what a particular occasion calls for Panderings at neutrality can take a hike.This book offended me There, I said it, long before anyone who is offended by another s offense can claim to my having wasted their time Those who are interested in valid discourse than polite niceties, stick around Perhaps it ll be worth your while.What offended me exactly A pet peeve, to be frank, one that I can usually prepare for when the warning signs are sufficiently displayed This, however, was not the case, and I had the misfortune of unexpectedly slogging through yet another tome authored by a heterosexual man in love with his own cock However, this fault is usually of an annoyance than a fatality, but only if other features of the piece redeem the lazy characterization of women and juvenile focus on sexuality that usually accompanies such a tendency This did not happen, and indeed the persistence of this disgusting flippancy reduced every other aspect of the novel to inconsequential, no matter how worthy of admiration they would have been on their own It s one thing to be critical of a character, and quite another to be judgmental, especially when the last is coupled with unmitigated casual cruelty and otherwise sickening lack of empathy If you based your insight into the female gender on this novel alone, you would be left with a picture of hysterical and empty headed poufs only worth the pleasures derived from their aesthetics and anatomy, hysterical due to their adoration of the male sexuality, empty headed because of the inescapable characteristic of beingchildish and above all feminine in mind There are many examples of this sort of authorial condemnation, including a passage that particularly exemplifies its origin being nothing but a sense of entitled bigotry, this being a priest dwelling on a niece whose marriage to a cousin who impregnated her is hoped to resolve a familial conflictAnd he thought of how the Lord, to bring about His justice, can even use bitches in heat Those who decry the translation to be at fault for this, please The meaning is quite clear, and frankly, I prefer not having my sensibilities to this sort of composition blinded by obscene amounts of purple prose Besides, I d like to see a translation handle this sentence any better , I really would.Outside of this issue, there is of course the dying Sicilian aristocracy embodied in a single man ever dwelling on his decadent ideals and his coming demise, something that would have been melancholic had the character managed to invoke my empathy As it stands, I was not impressed by the prose, the historical nuances, the authorial reasoning behind the need for the church to continue hoarding its mounds of wealth and the preference of the peasantry to remain horribly oppressed than to hope for change, and especially the main character s musings that came off as spoiled hogwash than any sort of noble insight If you want to convince me to look past all the disagreeable ideologies and enjoy everything else, works in the vein Memoirs of Hadrian and Imperial Woman are the way to go This is not. Last summer I actually got some good reading done I had been plagued with seeing The Leopard by Lampedusa in various bookstores in Italy, but did not really know what it was about aside from the reunification of Italy in the late 19th C I read Midnight in Sicily by Peter Robb and in the 4th chapter of that book, he talked about the book and I was hooked I scoured about 4 bookstores in Sicily before finally finding a translation into French and I dove it head first What an incredible read I was blown away by the text itself the descriptions, the limpidity of the language, the subtlety of the conversations, the disillusion of the central character Don Fabrizio, Prince of Salinas, and of course the gorgeous Angelica The book takes place during Garibaldi s invasion of Sicily he landed in Marsala in April of 1860 with 1086 men the Thousand and defeated the royalist army which had upwards of 20k troops on the island but rather at various locations where the Prince was staying and later dying near Palermo at at Donnafugata The descriptions of the meals are enough to make you quit a diet and drive straight to the closest Italian restaurant It is sumptuous in every way The famous ball scene in Chapter 6 reminded me of the Bal Masqu in Le Temps Retrouv Truly an incredible read It shows a depth of understanding of history, politics, and human nature that is melancholic but still with a glimmer of hope The characters of Don Fabrizio, his chaplain Pere Pirrone were based directly on Lampedusa s own great grandfather and his priest The other characters were similarly anchored in a real person that lived through that period We see the year of 1860 pass month by month and then skip a couple of year forward The telescoping in time also works backwards when Don Fabrizio muses about events that had already transpired and, what I found particularly great as well, we have teasers about the future of various buildings that would be bombed during WWII and the future of various characters The central characters all have layers of depth to them which I found fascinating I loved Tancredi s swashbuckling attitude, Angelica s seductive scheming and, of course, the disillusioned Prince All the minor characters are also drawn with a fine brush this short 400 word essay clearly does not do justice to this monument both of Italian literature Il Gattopardo is considered the greatest work of Italian literature in the 20th C and of the Italian language which translated marvellously into French By the way, the animal gattopardo is actually not a leopard but a serval thanks Wikipedia The book is relatively short 295 pages so I would highly recommend adding it to your reading list It is one of the most evocative books on social differences during a period of political upheaval ever written up there with War and Peace. It was a garden for the blind a constant offence to the eyes, a pleasure strong if somewhat crude to the nose The Paul Neyron roses, whose cuttings he had himself bought in Paris, had degenerated first stimulated and then enfeebled by the strong if languid pull of Sicilian earth, burnt by apocalyptic Julys, they had changed into objects like flesh coloured cabbages, obscene and distilling a dense almost indecent scent which no French horticulturist would have dared hope for The Prince put one under his nose and seemed to be sniffing the thigh of a dancer from the Opera Bendico, to whom it was also proffered, drew back in disgust and hurried off in search of healthier sensations amid dead lizards and manure. p.5 The term countryside implies soil transformed by labour but the scrub clinging to the slopes was still in the same state of scented tangle in which it had been found by the Phoenicians, Dorians and Ionians when they disembarked in Sicily, that America of antiquity Don Fabrizio and Tumeo climbed up and down, slipped and were scratched by thorns, just as an Archedamos or Philostrates must have got tired and scratched twenty five centuries before. p.75 Sicily does not change, but it changes those who settle on its soil in di Lampedusa s vision of evolution and adaptation For people, plants, even songs there is a steady regression to the Sicilian mean The Prince of Salina, Don Fabrizio view spoiler the Leopard view spoiler if I remember correctly that is a mistranslation, it ought to be the Civet Cat rather than the Leopard but the name has stuck hide spoiler

Tomasi was born in Palermo to Giulio Maria Tomasi, Prince of Lampedusa and Duke of Palma di Montechiaro, and Beatrice Mastrogiovanni Tasca Filangieri di Cut He became an only child after the death from diphtheria of his sister He was very close to his mother, a strong personality who influenced him a great deal, especially because his father was rather cold and detached As a child he studied

➻ [Reading] ➽ Il Gattopardo By Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa ➰ –
  • Paperback
  • 319 pages
  • Il Gattopardo
  • Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
  • English
  • 15 August 2019
  • 9780679731214

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *