THE EMPTY CANVAS by Alberto Moravia


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The perversity of physical passion, exclusive, obsessive and eventually destructive, this has been Moravia's special provenance-and it again occasions a ruthless, mortifying self-examination. Dino, a painter who has stopped painting (he is bored- and his boredom extends to a ""lack of relationship with external things"" as well as his creative sterility) learns that an older artist in a nearby studio has died- presumably from erotic excesses with the young girl who has been his model, Cecilia. Cecilia continues to visit Dino, although he is at first unresponsive; while physically very well developed, she has a certain childlike quality; her rather toneless apathy contrasts sharply with her sexual avidity; docile and inarticulate, she is also boring. However just as Dino thinks of getting rid of her, Cocilla curtails her daily visits (she is evidently involved with another man) and before long Dino is hotly engaged in trying to assure his relationship with her, first with money, then with an offer of marriage she turns down. Tormented by the fact that Cecilia can be had- but not possessed, Dino too becomes her victim and his attempt to destroy himself does not bring his release........A very characteristic book, precise, calculating, decadent, and within its narrow scrutiny- of worthless people and unpredictable, insatiable appetites- quite brilliant. One can assume an audience.

Pub Date: Oct. 16th, 1961
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Cudahy