A abounding novelist, memoirist, arcane critic, and translator investigates “Italy’s collective imagination.”
British expat Parks (Life and Work: Writers, Readers, and the Conversations Between Them, 2016, etc.), a citizen of Italy for the aftermost 35 years, reflects on the nation’s literature and history in this acquisition of adroit essays and reviews. All previously published, the pieces focus on writers (Giacomo Leopardi, Eugenio Montale, Ignazio Silone, and Natalia Ginzburg), a few artists (the modernist divisionists and Mario Sironi, championed by the fascists), and three monumental political figures: revolutionaries Giuseppe Mazzini and Giuseppe Garibaldi and absolutist Benito Mussolini. Parks aims “to pin bottomward what it is that makes Italian activity so artlessly absorbing and frustrating—so rich on the one duke yet irretrievably adjourned on the other.” Italian identity, he concludes, comes from a faculty of acceptance to groups such as family, friends, region, church, and political party. He generally takes issue, therefore, with biographers who abort “to draw on the disciplines of attitude and anthropology” to appraise the claimed and actual contexts of their subject’s life. He rescues Garibaldi, Italy’s ballsy unifier, from a biographer who refuses to “give an annual of the moments in action back Garibaldi’s decisions did affect the advance of history” and “has annihilation to say about the passions that confused him.” In an adroit beginning to an copy of The Prince, Parks portrays Machiavelli as “a carnal man and compulsive womanizer” who was confined and tortured, answerable with conspiracy. Forced into isolation, he became “fascinated by the way assertive personality ancestry can mesh absolutely or abnormally with assertive sets of actual circumstances.” That is a allure of Parks’, as well, allegorical his analysis of several biographies of Mussolini, all of which, in his estimation, abort to action “a serious cerebral abstraction of this abnormal mind.” Several pieces—on Sironi, Moravia, and Curzio Malaparte, for example—provocatively delving the connection of artists and writers to fascism.
The author’s deep familiarity with Italian ability informs these intelligent, acute essays.
An acclaimed author of novels and short stories, Tim Parks--who was described in a recent review as one of the best living writers of English--has delighted audiences around the world with his finely observed writings on all aspects of Italian life and customs. This volume contains a selection of his best essays on the literature of his adopted country.
From Boccaccio and Machiavelli through to Moravia and Tabucchi, from the Stil Novo to Divisionism, across centuries of history and intellectual movements, these essays will give English readers, and lovers of the Bel Paese and its culture, the lay of the literary land of Italy.
A Literary Tour of Italy
- BookA Literary Tour of Italy
- Author:Tim Parks
- Publishing Date:2016-11-29
- Publisher:Alma Books
- Number Of pages:288