Friday, January 21, 2011

The Babel Lectures - 'Exploring the Book' - Galway City Library

The Babel Lectures -'Exploring the Book' continue in Galway City Library with Prof Paolo Bartoloni on Tuesday,25th January 2011 at 6.30pm. All are welcome and admission is free.

"Joyce’s Italian Book of Choice: Svevo’s Zeno’s Conscience"

James Joyce arrived in the city of Trieste with his wife Nora in 1904, at a time when Trieste was a vibrant hub of commerce and culture. It was in Trieste that, while teaching English, Joyce completed Dubliners and started jotting Ulysses. He loved Trieste’s multicultural melting pot, and indulged the company of local authors and businesspeople. Amongst them there was an industrialist by the name of Ettore Schmitz, who in his spare time, and under the pseudonym of Italo Svevo, wrote novels that nobody seemed to care about. Joyce admired Svevo’s third novel, La coscienza di Zeno ( Zeno’s Conscience), so much that he took upon himself to promote it. All of a sudden Svevo and his writing became a literary case, and La coscienza the masterpiece of Italian modernism. But why is it that Joyce, a person and a writer so apparently different from Schmitz/Svevo, chose to champion this book? What does a writer who chose self-imposed exile abroad, linguistic experimentation and multilingualism have in common with an author who aspired to the purity of language, and felt that real exile is at home? This talk will discuss these and other issues related to the peculiar history and life of Svevo’s Zeno’s Conscience.

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