Pendant de longues années, autant que dura notre jeunesse, nous nous tînmes sur la plus grande réserve et ne fîmes jamais allusion au passé. L'autre jour, elle me demanda à brûle-pourpoint, et son visage encadré de cheveux gris se colorait d'une rougeur juvénile :
- Pourquoi m'avez-vous quittée?
Je fus sincère car je n'eus pas le temps nécessaire pour fabriquer un mensonge :
- Je ne sais plus... mais j'ignore aussi tant d'autres choses de ma propre vie.
- Moi, je regrette, dit-elle. (Et déjà je m'inclinais à cette promesse de compliment.) Il me semble que vous devenez très drôle en vieillissant.
Un des chefs-d'oeuvre de la littérature du XXe siècle.
...the sin of an old man is equal to about two sins of a young man.
The fable-like story of an old man's sexual obsession with a young woman is a distillation of Italo Svevo's concerns--attraction of an older man to a younger woman, individual conscience versus social convention, and the cost of sexual desire. This novella is a marvel of psychological insight, following the man's vacillations and tortuous self-justifications to their tragic-comic end. It is presented here in a translation first commissioned and published by Virginia Woolf for her Hogarth Press.
The Art of The Novella Series
Too short to be a novel, too long to be a short story, the novella is generally unrecognized by academics and publishers. Nonetheless, it is a form beloved and practiced by literature's greatest writers. In the Art Of The Novella series, Melville House celebrates this renegade art form and its practitioners with titles that are, in many instances, presented in book form for the first time.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Long hailed as a seminal work of modernism in the tradition of Joyce and Kafka, and now available in a supple new English translation, Italo Svevo's charming and splendidly idiosyncratic novel conducts readers deep into one hilariously hyperactive and endlessly self-deluding mind. The mind in question belongs to Zeno Cosini, a neurotic Italian businessman who is writing his confessions at the behest of his psychiatrist. Here are Zeno's interminable attempts to quit smoking, his courtship of the beautiful yet unresponsive Ada, his unexpected-and unexpectedly happy-marriage to Ada's homely sister Augusta, and his affair with a shrill-voiced aspiring singer. Relating these misadventures with wry wit and a perspicacity at once unblinking and compassionate, Zeno's Conscience is a miracle of psychological realism.