A Tent in this World

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McPherson & Company, 1999 - Fiction - 157 pages
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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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About the author (1999)

William Weaver was born on July 24, 1923. During World War II, he joined the American Field Service and was sent to Africa and then to Italy as an ambulance driver. As a senior at Princeton University, he had a short story published in Harper's Bazaar. After graduation, he taught at the University of Virginia for a year before returning to Italy. He was a translator of modern Italian literature into English. He translated the works of numerous authors including Italo Calvino, Umberto Eco, Giorgio Bassani and Primo Levi. He also studied opera and wrote several books on the subject including The Golden Century of Italian Opera from Rossini to Puccini. He taught at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York in the 1990s. He died on November 12, 2013 at the age of 90.

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