Synopses & Reviews
—Revenge is so sweet one often wishes to be insulted so as to be able to take revenge, and I dont mean just by an old enemy, but anyone, or even (especially when in a really bad mood) by a friend.
The extraordinary quality of Giacomo Leopardis writing and the innovative nature of his thought were never fully recognized in his lifetime. Zibaldone, his 4,500-page intellectual diary—a vast collection of thoughts on philosophy, civilization, literary criticism, linguistics, humankind and its vanities, and other varied topics—remained unpublished until more than a half-century after his death. But shortly before he died, Leopardi began to organize a small, thematic collection of his writings in an attempt to give structure and system to his philosophical musings. Now freshly translated into English by master translator, novelist, and critic Tim Parks, Leopardis Passions presents 164 entries reflecting the full breadth of human passion. The volume offers a fascinating introduction to Leopardis arguments and insights, as well as a glimpse of the concerns of thinkers to come, among them Nietzsche, Dostoyevsky, Wittgenstein, Gadda, and Beckett.
Selections from Leopardis prose masterwork, Zibaldone, one of the great intellectual diaries in European literature, expertly translated by Tim Parks
In this brilliant collection, a renowned critic vividly depicts the dynamic relationships between authors, their work, and their readers
Acclaimed novelist and critic Tim Parks has long been fascinated by the complicated relationship between an author's life and work. Dissatisfied with the dominant modes of reading he encountered, he began exploring the underlying values and patterns that guide authors in both their writing and their lives.
In a series of provocative, incisive, and unflinching essays written over the past decade and collected for the first time here, he reveals how style and content in a novel reflect a whole pattern of communication and positioning in the author's ordinary and daily behavior. We see how life and work are deeply enmeshed in the work of writers as diverse as Charles Dickens, Feodor Dostoevsky, James Joyce, Anton Chekhov, Philip Roth, Julian Barnes, Peter Stamm, and Geoff Dyer, among others. Parks further shows us how readers' reactions to these writers and their works are inevitably connected to these communicative patterns, establishing a relationship that goes far beyond aesthetic appreciation.
This original and daring collection takes us into the psychology of some of our greatest writers and challenges us to see with more clarity how our lives become entangled with theirs through our reading of their novels.
About the Author
Giacomo Leopardi (17981837) was a prolific writer, translator, and thinker in Italy during the years of European upheaval that followed the French Revolution. He became a fluent translator of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, earned high regard as the first modern Italian classic poet,” and is also esteemed for his diverse prose work. Tim Parks is the author of fifteen novels, including Europa, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize; four acclaimed memoirs of life in contemporary Italy; and other nonfiction works. He runs a postgraduate degree program in translation at IULM University in Milan and has translated works by Moravia, Calvino, Calasso, Machiavelli, and numerous others.