The Siren and Selected Writings

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Harvill Press, 1995 - Fiction - 184 pages
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Although best known as author of a singular masterpiece, The Leopard, the Prince of Lampedusa left a rich and varied oeuvre that repays a careful reading. The best and most representative of it is collected in this volume. Places of My Infancy, a childhood memory of the Lampedusa palace in Palermo at the turn of the century, and of the great family mansion inland at Santa Margherita, provides a fascinating background to the princely setting of The Leopard. The text hitherto published had been edited and pruned by the author's widow, and resulted in a somewhat impoverished version. Here the author's original text - with many characters and incidents earlier suppressed - has been fully restored. The story of The Professor and the Siren, a delicious example of Lampedusa's fantasy, and The Blind Kittens (the first chapter of an unfinished novel of bourgeois Sicily that would have formed a pendant to The Leopard) both featured as appendices to Harvill's earlier edition of the great novel. They are included here together with a charming, comic, bitter-sweet story, Joy and the Law. Guiseppe di Lampedusa's knowledge of English literature, which derived from a lifetime's reading as well as from a number of extended visits to Britain as a young man, bore fruit in a series of informal seminars he gave in his later years at Palermo. The plan was to introduce his listeners to English writers from Bede to Aldous Huxley, pausing along the way not only at the great classics but also among the lesser known Restoration poets and Victorian novelists. To this, as also in his shrewd and dynamic appraisal of the French novelist Stendhal, he brought the lucid intellect and warmth of feeling that informs hisown deeply Sicilian creative genius.

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The Siren and Selected Writings

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First published in 1962, this collection by Tomasi, Sicilian prince of Lampedusa best known for his novel The Leopard, includes "The Professor and the Siren," "Blind Kittens," and others. Read full review

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User Review  - Mack - Goodreads

Witty and funny. Will get more of his books. Read full review


Introduction to the Memory
1n The Journey

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About the author (1995)

TOMASI DI LAMPEDUSA, GIUSEPPE , PRINCE OF. 1896-1957 A Sicilian intellectual and aristocrat, Lampedusa wrote The Leopard (Il Gattopardo) (1955--56), one of the classics of twentieth-century European literature. A historical novel, it is based on the life of the author's paternal great-grandfather at the time following the 1830 landing of Garibaldi and his Thousand Red Shirts in Sicily, the liberation of the island from the Bourbon monarchy, and its annexation to the Kingdom of Piedmonte. The novel documents how the elegant traditions of the aristocratic world were supplanted by the coarse values of the shortsighted bourgeoisie. Submitted by the author to a prominent publisher and rejected, Il GattopardoIl was published posthumously by another publisher following the strong recommendation of Giorgio Bassani. It won the Strega Prize, Italy's most prestigious literary award, and became a world best seller. The director Luchino Visconti adapted the novel for his successful film of the same name.

David Gilmour is the author of many works of literary and political history, including "The Long Recessional: The Imperial Life of Rudyard Kipling" and "The Last Leopard: A Life of Giuseppe di Lampedusa," He lives in Edinburgh.

Jean de la Fontaine continues to be one of the most cherished authors in the French pantheon of literature. His "Fables," verse reworkings of classical tales from sources such as Aesop and Horace, is recognized as a milestone of French literature and culture. Guido Waldman, is a translator and editor, and is currently editorial director of the Harvill Press.

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