While Joyce became enthralled with the latest novelistic techniques -particularly the stream of consciousness and indirect free style- to get inside the mind of his characters, Svevo accomplished the same thing without the new tools. Zeno's consciousness is not the flowing of a stream, but the cascading, torrential avalanche of details that is the essence of humanness in all aspects: from low double entry bookkeeping, business, and economics, to manipulations of the Stock Market, to moral dilemmas, and raw passions.
Italo Svevo's Confessions of Zeno belongs to the comic tradition of Don Quixote and Tristram Shandy, though not in the realist manner, but rather in a psychological vein. After reading a few pages the reader will have no doubt that he is confronting a paradoxical juxtaposition between things of the mind and things themselves.
Zeno -the narrator and eponymous hero- on the surface is a hypochondriac, neurotic, quirky, solipsistic, self-examining and self-serving bourgeois; deep down, however, he is love and goodness incarnate, not by design but by the whims of life.
Although Svevo wrote many other works, his opus magnum will remain his Confessions of Zeno.
While Proust and others wrote lengthy psychological novels, by their sheer length and density, they become soporific. Not so with Zeno, which is intriguing, suspenseful, engaging-never boring, a magnificent tour de force.
|Edition description:||New Edition|
|Product dimensions:||8.80(w) x 6.00(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
He was born Ettore Schmitz, in Trieste, but he adopted the pseudonym, Italo Svevo, or Italus the Swabian, to acknowledge his mixed heritage: Italian by language (Trieste dialeto), Austrian by citizenship (Trieste was a city of the Austro-Hungarian Empire), and German (in fact, German-Jewish) by ancestry.
He attended a commercial school in Trieste, but his father's business difficulties forced him to leave school and become a bank clerk. He continued to read on his own and began to write.