A Tent in this World
At the outset of the career of the man who is regarded today as the preeminent American translator of 20th-century Italian literature-as well as the distinguished author of many books on opera-William Weaver had, in fact, a somewhat different object in mind: he wished to be a novelist. Recently graduated both from Princeton & World War Two (as an ambulance driver), the youthful aspirant made a return visit to Naples in 1947, & stayed for some weeks with the Italian family of an equally aspiring & youthful friend. A Tent in This World records the weeks that followed, though it is both more & less than the diary which, with disarming wit & subtle irony, it purports to be. This novella a clef is, in fact, three things in one: a thoroughly engaging Isherwood-esque fiction of a not-quite-so-innocent abroad; an affectionately true portrait of the inhabitants of Naples & Capri; & a considerable literary rediscovery. For although only now is A Tent in This World being published for the first time as a book in English, it was printed in 1950 in an issue of one of the foremost international literary journals of the day, Botteghe Oscure. And only a few years ago, to great critical acclaim, A Tent in This World was published as a book in Italian. Its appearance, or reappearance, in English explains now what the literary world both gained & lost when William Fense Weaver, novelist-to-be, settled instead upon becoming "simply" William Weaver, translator of Italo Calvino, Umberto Eco, Alberto Moravia, & a host of Italy's most famous authors. A Tent in This World is the charming description, finally, of a gifted American sensibility discovering an irresistable attachment to the Italian soul.
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afternoon ambulance American American Express amused arrival asked began Bill boat Bruno Capri Carlo Cesare Cesare's changed cigarettes conversation crazy crowded dark diary dinner drunk Dylan Thomas English everything father feel felt Fense Weaver finally friends funicular girl gone guerite happened Henry Herculaneum hour idea imagine Italian Italy Jane joke knew last night late later laughed leave lived looked Luigi Mergellina morning mother movie museum Naples Neapoli Neapolitan never O'Leary occasional Ollieri palazzo Peppino perhaps Posillipo realized remember Rex Warner ridiculous Rina Rina's Rome Rosaria seemed shouted Signora Fabbri smiled Sorrento square stay strange street suddenly suppose talking tell things thought told took tram trip typewriter vermouth Virgil's tomb Vomero walked wanted weeks wife William Fense William Weaver window wonderful write