AS A MAN GROWS OLDER by Italo Svevo

AS A MAN GROWS OLDER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A translation into English, by Beryl De Zoete, with an introduction by James Joyce's brother, Stanislaus, and an essay on the author by Edouard Roditi -- this is heralded by quite a salvo of literary priase, of critical placement in Italian literature. Published in 1898, the second novel of writer unrecognized by his own people, this, as, Senilita, was in part memorized by Joyce, and by him called to the attention of French critics, and in the late '20's attained, with other of Svevo's works, a posthumous acclaim. It is a novel now that will have an audience among the literati cogniscent of European influences, of the intelligentsia aware of the basic structure of modern writing, but which will not however have a wide audience among the mass reading public. The plot line is negligible -- a would-be writer, of weak, indecisive nature, Emilio Brentani, has a shabby affair, which he voluntarily glorifies, with a local whore and comes to grief, not only over her infidelities, but over his sister's fatal illness, and the realization of his own blindness. The characterizations are spare in contrast to the cerebrations which are many-shaded and much-examined -- from Emilio and his painfully acute observattions, to Angiolina, his mistress, and her chameleon evasions, to his effacing sister, Amalia, and her unrequited love for the sculptor, Balli, who has an answer for everything, to a kind neighbor, an inquisitive friend, Angiolina's own mother and young sister, etc., etc. A book for the inner circle.

ISBN: 1164495100
Publisher: New Directions