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SVEVO, Italo.


Traduit de l'italien par Paul-Henri Michel.

Paris: Gallimard, 1927 Stock Code: 132462
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Inscribed by the translator to Giuseppe Ungaretti

First edition in French (second overall), first printing, presentation copy of the service de presse issue, inscribed by the translator on the front free endpaper "à Giuseppe Ungaretti, ce livre dont il a été l'un des premiers confidents. Avec toute mon amitié, Paul Henri Michel". The recipient Giuseppe Ungaretti (1888-1970) was an Italian poet who, like his close friend Paul-Henri Michel (1894-1964) had an interest in hermeticism. Michel wrote The Cosmology of Giordano Bruno, the famous Italian Dominican friar, philosopher, mathematician, poet, cosmological theorist, and Hermetic occultist.

This key modernist novel was originally published in Italian in 1923, under the title La coscienza di Zeno, at the author's expense. It received little attention initially; however, James Joyce was living in Trieste at the time and acting as English teacher to the author. Joyce championed the work in Paris and it was translated first into French (the present edition) and then English (1930). Before his death following a car accident in September 1928, Svevo lived to see himself hailed as the Proust of Italy, and was received into the Parisian literary scene: "Svevo, lacking the confidence in his genius that carried Joyce through so much frustration, was amazed. Calling himself, in the face of his belated fame, a 'bambino di 64 anni', he charmed his hosts at a 1928 Paris literary dinner in his honor by filtering his ingenuous joy through a screen of cigarette smoke. He was even more amazed to discover, as the young poet Eugenio Montale championed his cause in Italy, that he was being hailed as the revolutionary father of a new generation of Italian writers" (Lebowitz).

The work is posed as a rambling memoir set down by a troubled tobacco fiend named Zeno, whose life is an interminable succession of "last cigarettes", at the suggestion of his psychiatrist, and vengefully published by the doctor after Zeno discontinues his visits.

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Octavo. Original red and black printed wrappers, unopened and uncut.


Faint water stains to spine, a few small nicks and closed tears to extremities, mostly to foot of spine, some browning, mostly to verso of wrappers; an excellent copy.


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