Italo Svevo’s London Writings

svev1By Italo Svevo.

This book really is only of interest if you like Svevo. I like Svevo and these collections of letters and articles were amusing and insightful. In ‘Confessions of Zeno’ one of the characters says to Zeno late in life that he has become an amusing man. After reading these I believe that this same comment must have been levelled at Svevo. He has his melancholy moments though, particularly when he is separated from his wife in the early letters. Later she would mostly join him on his trips to London and their being apart would have been less. It is also very illuminating to see an intelligent outsiders view of London and ‘the English’ at the turn of last century. Svevo can’t get to grips with the Cockney but the freedom of life in England seemed greater than in Trieste which is probably why he and his wife spent so many years on and off at 67 Church Lane in Charlton. The last article is possibly the most enjoyable. It was for a lecture that he never gave (deciding to talk about his friend James Joyce instead) giving a humorous and candid overview of English life. Definitely worth my time reading.

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