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Some Important People in this workshop: Italo Svevo

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’