Tag Archive for 'Italo Svevo'

Some important people in this workshop: James Joyce

IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF JAMES JOYCE TRIESTE

By ANTHONY BURGESS

If you drive North from Venice you will eventually come to Trieste. It has, because of its history, acquired a non-Italian aura to those who have merely heard about it or noted its position on the map, but, entering it, you will have no sensation of leaving Italy. There will be copies of Telegiornale and Cinzano and Campari in the bars, Agip garages and the confections of Motta. Address the Triestines in Italian, meaning the version of the mother tongue used on the radio or television, and they will understand you, though their version of Latin has an X in it, and they turn the Latin H into a G. The letter survives from young Lucia Joyce to her father James, beginning ”Go una bella balla” – ”I have a lovely ball” – and that ”go,” which is ”ho” on radio and television, is a typical Slav mutation. Trieste is partly a Slav-speaking town, which is why the neighboring Slavs of Yugoslavia have wanted it for their own. Continue reading ‘Some important people in this workshop: James Joyce’

Some Important People in this workshop: Italo Svevo

Signor Schmitz, Mr. Joyce

Italo Svevo, pseudonym of Ettore Schmitz (born Dec. 19, 1861, Trieste, Austrian Empire [now in Italy]—died Sept. 13, 1928, Motta di Livenza, Italy), Italian novelist and short-story writer, a pioneer of the psychological novel in Italy.

Svevo (whose pseudonym means “Italian Swabian”) was the son of a German-Jewish glassware merchant and an Italian mother. At 12 he was sent to a boarding school near Würzburg, Ger. He later returned to 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.

Svevo’s first novel, Una vita (1892; A Life), was revolutionary in its analytic, introspective treatment of the agonies of an ineffectual hero (a pattern Svevo repeated in subsequent works). A powerful but rambling work, the book was ignored upon its publication. So was its successor, Senilità (1898; As a Man Grows Older), featuring another bewildered hero. Svevo had been teaching at a commercial school, and, with Senilità’s failure, he formally gave up writing and became engrossed in his father-in-law’s business. Continue reading ‘Some Important People in this workshop: Italo Svevo’