Read De tijgerkat by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa Anthonie Kee Online


Sicilië, 1860. Garibaldi landt bij Marsala om het eiland in te lijven bij de nieuwe, liberale eenheidsstaat Italië. Het is gedaan met de Bourbons en met de feodaliteit: de platte, alles berekenende burgerij neemt de macht over. Don Fabrizio, prins van Salina, ziet deze ontwikkeling met lede ogen aan, maar voelt zich machteloos tegenover de geschiedenis en zoekt troost in zSicilië, 1860. Garibaldi landt bij Marsala om het eiland in te lijven bij de nieuwe, liberale eenheidsstaat Italië. Het is gedaan met de Bourbons en met de feodaliteit: de platte, alles berekenende burgerij neemt de macht over. Don Fabrizio, prins van Salina, ziet deze ontwikkeling met lede ogen aan, maar voelt zich machteloos tegenover de geschiedenis en zoekt troost in zijn studie van sterren en planeten. Zijn pupil Tancredi echter weet zich aan te passen aan het nieuwe bestel....

Title : De tijgerkat
Author :
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ISBN : 9789025363253
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 312 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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De tijgerkat Reviews

  • Jeffrey Keeten
    2019-03-18 20:23

    ”Among his friends Don Fabrizio was considered an “eccentric”; his interest in mathematics was taken almost as sinful perversion, and had he not been actually Prince of Salina and known as an excellent horseman, indefatigable shot and tireless womaniser, his parallaxes and telescopes might have exposed him to the risk of outlawry. Even so the did not say much to him, for his cold blue eyes, glimpsed under the heavy lids, put would-be talkers off, and he often found himself isolated, not, as he thought, from respect, but from fear.”This book was translated as The Leopard, but the literal translation is The Ocelot. The publishers must have felt that the image of a Leopard lent itself more to their target audience than the rather smaller, and frankly cuddlier ocelot. I happen to be a bit fond of ocelots since watching the antics of the feline Bruce on the Honey West episodes. The Ocelot, he knows he's not a leopard.The Prince of Salina Don Fabrizio knows he is the last of his kind. His son will inherit the title, but not the sensibilities and traditions that go with it. Garibaldi has landed in Sicily in the spring of 1860 and has overthrown the monarchy in Naples. The Prince’s darling nephew, Tancredi has broken ranks to join the rebels and wants his Uncle to do the same. He is a favorite of the Prince and even though Don Fabrizio is unwilling to leave his class he does help arrange a marriage between Tancredi and Angelica whose father has benefited greatly from this rising class of successful men from the lower classes. In other words he hedges his bets.Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa in uniformThe author Guiseppe Di Lampedusa was drafted into the Italian army during World War One. He was captured during the battle of Caporetto and held in a Hungarian POW camp. He escaped and made his way back to Italy, and eventually leaves the army with the rank of lieutenant and moves back to Palermo to the family estate. He is asked to return during world war two as well, but his responsibilities for his estates soon recall him home. His palace is bombed during the war. His Great Grandfather who built the grand palace became the basis for the Prince of Salina in his novel. Guiseppe dies at the age of 60 before his novel can be published, but not before he is turned down by several publishers. Don Fabrizio is melancholy, even the description of his garden seems to convey the state of his life with vivid smell still retained despite the shabby grandeur. ”The garden, hemmed and almost squashed between barriers, was exhaling scents that were cloying, fleshy and slightly putrid, like the aromatic liquids distilled from the relics of certain saints; the carnations superimposed their pungence on the formal fragrance of roses and the oily emanations of magnolias drooping in corners; and somewhere beneath it all was a faint smell of mint mingling with a nursery whiff of acacia and a jammy one of myrtle; from a grove beyond the wall came an erotic waft of early orange-blossom. It was a garden for the blind: a constant offence to the eyes, a pleasure strong if somewhat crude to the nose. The Paul Neyron roses, whose cuttings he had himself bought in Paris, and degenerated; first stimulated and then enfeebled by the strong if languid pull of Sicilian earth, burnt by apocalyptic Julys, they had changed into objects like flesh-coloured cabbages, obscene and distilling a dense almost indecent scent which no French horticulturist would have dared hope for. The Prince put one under his nose and seemed to be sniffing the thigh of a dancer from the Opera. Bendico (his dog), to whom it was also proffered, drew back in disgust and hurried off in search of healthier sensations amid dead lizards and manure.”The arrival of Angelica, the woman betrothed to his nephew Tancredi puts not only a smile on his face, but also elicits an almost nostalgic flood of desire in the forty-five year old Prince. He hugs her, but he wants to ravish her. He smells her hair, but he wants to inhale every nook of her. He tamps down all those unseemly thoughts and takes great pride in seeing his handsome nephew with such a beautiful young girl. ”She was tall and well made, on an ample scale; her skin looked as if it had the flavour of fresh cream which it resembled, her childlike mouth that of strawberries. Under a mass of raven hair, curling in gentle waves, her green eyes gleamed motionless as those of statues, and like them a little cruel. She was moving slowly, making her wide white skirt rotate around her, and emanating from her whole person the invincible calm of a woman sure of her own beauty.”Alain Delon as Tancredi and Claudia Cardinale as AngelicaThe Prince has several daughters and with the arrival of other young aristocrats all moving in concentric circles around the splendid array of Angelica and Tancredi the palace seems to take on the desires of the group. ”Even the architecture, the rococo decor itself, evoked thoughts of fleshly curves and taut erect breasts; and every opening door seemed like a curtain rustling in a bed-alcove.”The stars are Don Fabrizio’s passion, when not daydreaming about memoirs of his own passionate conquests he turns his eyes skyward. ”The stars looked turbid and their rays scarcely penetrated the pall of sultry air. The soul of the Prince yearned out towards them, towards the intangible, the unreachable, which gives joy without being able to ask for anything in return; like many other times, he tried to imagine himself in those icy reaches, a pure intellect armed with a note-book for calculations; difficult calculations, but ones which would always work out.” He is a dreamer, but due to his responsibilities is firmly rooted to the earth incapable of escaping his duties except for a few beautiful, peaceful, stolen moments when he finds himself alone to star gaze or take a bath or read a book. I felt that tug of recognition of a soul so close to my own. He is always on the verge of asking what if, but unwilling to break the bonds of his position to indulge himself in such potentially dangerous thinking. Poster of the movie starring Burt Lancaster as the Prince Even though he is a relatively young man of forty-five, (I say this because he is the same age as I am.) he is often stunned at signs reminding him of his age. Most of the novel takes place over the space of a year, at the end of the novel Di Lampedusa does give us a chapter showing the Prince in his seventies, but for most of the novel I had to keep reminding myself that the Prince was much younger than he seemed. He attends this ball in which he is enduring the proceedings wrapped up in his own thoughts, but he can’t help but notice and be repelled by even more reminders of the passage of time. ”The women at the ball did not please him either. Two or three among the older ones had been his mistresses, and seeing them now, grown heavy with years and childbearing, it was an effort to imagine them as they were twenty years before, and he was annoyed at the thought of having thrown away his best years in chasing (and catching ) such slatterns.”The novel is at times pessimistic Of course, love. Flames for a year, ashes for thirty. A languid wonderful novel full of beautiful descriptions of exquisite smells and bewitching desires. A book that had me flying through pages and then going back to reread passages dripping with evocative language. The book at times especially towards the final chapters becomes clunky and feels unfinished. While looking up some information for this review I found references that many academics agree and believe that he never polished the final chapters. Despite those flaws I was enthralled by this novel. A bit of cultural history captured in the pages of a book of a time that will never exist again nor anything even resembling it. If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.comI also have a Facebook blogger page at:

  • Michael Finocchiaro
    2019-02-28 17:09

    Last summer I actually got some good reading done. I had been plagued with seeing The Leopard by Lampedusa in various bookstores in Italy, but did not really know what it was about aside from the reunification of Italy in the late 19th C. I read Midnight in Sicily by Peter Robb and in the 4th chapter of that book, he talked about the book and I was hooked. I scoured about 4 bookstores in Sicily before finally finding a translation into French and I dove it head first. What an incredible read! I was blown away by the text itself – the descriptions, the limpidity of the language, the subtlety of the conversations, the disillusion of the central character Don Fabrizio, Prince of Salinas, and of course the gorgeous Angelica. The book takes place during Garibaldi’s invasion of Sicily (he landed in Marsala in April of 1860 with 1086 men (“the Thousand”) and defeated the royalist army which had upwards of 20k troops on the island) but rather at various locations where the Prince was staying (and later dying) near Palermo at at Donnafugata. The descriptions of the meals are enough to make you quit a diet and drive straight to the closest Italian restaurant. It is sumptuous in every way. The famous ball scene in Chapter 6 reminded me of the Bal Masqué in Le Temps Retrouvé. Truly an incredible read. It shows a depth of understanding of history, politics, and human nature that is melancholic but still with a glimmer of hope. The characters of Don Fabrizio, his chaplain Pere Pirrone were based directly on Lampedusa’s own great grandfather and his priest. The other characters were similarly anchored in a real person that lived through that period. We see the year of 1860 pass month by month and then skip a couple of year forward. The telescoping in time also works backwards when Don Fabrizio muses about events that had already transpired and, what I found particularly great as well, we have teasers about the future of various buildings that would be bombed during WWII and the future of various characters. The central characters all have layers of depth to them which I found fascinating. I loved Tancredi’s swashbuckling attitude, Angelica’s seductive scheming and, of course, the disillusioned Prince. All the minor characters are also drawn with a fine brush – this short 400 word essay clearly does not do justice to this monument both of Italian literature (Il Gattopardo is considered the greatest work of Italian literature in the 20th C) and of the Italian language (which translated marvellously into French). By the way, the animal gattopardo is actually not a leopard but a serval (thanks Wikipedia!). The book is relatively short (295 pages) so I would highly recommend adding it to your reading list. It is one of the most evocative books on social differences during a period of political upheaval ever written - up there with War and Peace.

  • Helen Ροζουλί Εωσφόρος Vernus Portitor Arcanus Ταμετούρο Αμούν Arnum
    2019-03-21 19:12

    "Ο γατόπαρδος" του Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa είναι ενα μυθιστόρημα για την παρακμή. Μια τέλεια υποκίνηση ενός χαμένου κόσμου. Μια διαλεκτική ανάμεσα στα ζωή και το θάνατο. Ένα ιστορικό πολυεστιακό αφήγημα το οποίο διαδραματίζεται στη Σικελία την εποχή της απόβασης του Γκαριμπάλντι στη Μαρσάλα. Κεντρικό πρόσωπο ο προπάππους του συγγραφέα απο την οικογένεια του πατέρα του, ο Τζούλιο ντι Λαμπεντούζα, αστρονόμος. Στο πρόσωπο του Πρίγκιπα Φαμπρίτσιο ντι Σαλίνα, πρωταγωνιστή της ιστορίας μας, αναγνωρίζουμε την προσωπογραφία του προπάππου του, ίσως όμως ακόμη περισσότερο τη δική του αυτοπροσωπογραφία. Ο Γατόπαρδος ως ανάγνωσμα είναι ένα επικίνδυνο παιχνίδι ψευδαίσθησης,αλήθειας, μουσικής, ποίησης και πολλών άλλων αρχέγονων δώρων. Μας καλεί να παθιαστούμε με τα παραμυθένια πρόσωπα πίσω απο τα οποία κρύβεται ο συγγραφέας και να γευτούμε μαζί του μπόλικη λυρική και κριτική αμφίσημη αίσθηση πασπαλισμένη με αρκετή ειρωνεία στην πλοκή, την ίντριγκα και τη μυθοπλασία. Κύριος άξονας η παρακμή της φεουδαρχικής αριστοκρατίας, η εξέλιξη των γενεών, η ανάδειξη νέων κοινωνικών τάξεων και νέων μύθων γύρω απο την "θαυμαστή τύχη" ενοποίησης της Ιταλίας. Ο Πρίγκιπας Φαμπρίτσιο ντι Σαλίνα είναι ένας πλούσιος φεουδάρχης, ένας σπουδαίος άνδρας που έχει κατανόησει τα πάντα γύρω απο τη ζωή. Αντιδρά με στωικότητα και φιλανθρωπία και οδηγείται απο την τρομερή διορατικότητα του και ένα παράξενο υπαρξιακό αίσθημα. Βλέπει πως όλα γύρω του καταρρέουν, χάνονται, καταπατούνται,αλλά δέχεται τα γεγονότα ως φυσική εξέλιξη που καθορίστηκαν απο μοιραίους εξωτερικούς παράγοντες και την τραγική κληρονομική ακινησία -κυρίως πνευματική-των Σικελών. Έτσι, περνάει σε μια τρομακτική απομόνωση της ψυχής του και χωρίς να νοιάζεται για τίτλους τιμής και περιουσίες, επικεντρώνεται στην ακινησία, τη μνήμη, τις νοσταλγικές αισθήσεις, την αποδοχή των πάντων και το Θάνατο. Ο Πρίγκιπας δεν ενδιαφέρεται για την πραγματικότητα, δεν θέλει να ομορφύνει την ασχήμια που αρχίζει να βασιλεύει παντού. Κύριος στόχος του είναι να συνεχίζει να ζει μέσα σε αυτές τις άσχημες, εξαγριωμένες στιγμές του πνεύματος που μοιάζουν περισσότερο με ένα τέλος, έναν θάνατο. Επιθυμεί και ονειρεύεται μέσα σε ενα κόσμο αισθήσεων και γεύσεων της καθημερινής ζωής. Είναι ένας τρυφερός κατασκευαστής σκληρών πραγμάτων. Δεν ειναι ένας απλός ηδονιστής, είναι ένας γητευτής των αισθήσεων του κόσμου. Σύμφωνα με τον Φαμπρίτσιο ντι Σαλίνα η πολιτική ιστορία που περιγράφεται στο βιβλίο είναι μια αλλαγή. Μια μετάβαση στο τέλος της αριστοκρατίας και των ευγενών εκπροσώπων της. Ως εκ τούτου η αγάπη του για τις αισθητικές απολαύσεις γεύσεων και μυρωδικών σε όλες τις εκφάνσεις της ζωής, είναι η επιβεβαίωση και η άρνηση της γήινης ύπαρξης. Αφού η γήινη αγάπη βασίζεται στην ταλαιπωρία που υπομένουμε καθόλη τη διάρκεια της ζωής μας, όπως οι Σικελοί που ταλαιπωρούνται έξι μήνες απο τον καυτό ήλιο υπομένοντας και περιμένοντας μια πολυπόθητη στιγμή σκιάς, μια διαφυγή. Η διαφυγή που επιβεβαιώνει την ύπαρξη. Μόνο μια ύπαρξη που επιβεβαιώνεται ολοκληρωτικά απο την ταλαιπωρία και τα βάσανα θα μπορέσει να απολαύσει τη συντριπτική γλυκύτητα της γαλήνης και της ανάπαυσης.Όχι με άρνηση και οργή, αλλά με αισθησιασμό και απόλαυση. Μια σύντομη στιγμή αμαρτίας θριαμβευτική όπως η ανάπαυση σώματος και πνεύματος, όπως η έννοια της αλήθειας. Όλη η ανθρωπότητα διέπεται απο τις αδυναμίες της. Σκοπός δεν ειναι ο θρίαμβος μα η επιβίωση. Ο Πρίγκιπας παρακολουθεί το ξεθώριασμα και την παρακμή του κόσμου. Ξέρει πως δεν είναι η τελική πτώση της ανθρωπότητας αλλά μια κατάσταση αποσύνθεσης και εξασθένισης, μια αιώνια κίνηση μέσα στην παροδικότητα του χρόνου. Για τον Φαμπρίτσιο ντι Σαλίνα το τέλος της αριστοκρατίας παρερμηνεύεται απο τους ανθρώπους που δεν έχουν βιώσει την έννοια της ύπαρξης και πολεμούν για τα υλικά αγαθά, το χρήμα και την κυριαρχία γης που δεν τους ανήκει και δεν θα την κατακτήσουν ποτέ. Ο ίδιος πιστεύει στην απόλαυση της αισθησιακής ζωής και στην παράδοση σε έναν αισθησιακό θάνατο. Μακριά απο την φθαρτή ύλη και τη γήινη φθορά, γίνεται η πνευματική υπέρβαση μέσα απο απο τα άστρα.Η ενόραση του θανάτου μέσα απο τη ζωή των άστρων και την ύπαρξη μιας άλλης ζωής μέσα απο τον τέλειο θάνατο όπου απουσίαζει η ύλη και κυριαρχεί το πνεύμα.Η αριστοκρατία για να παρακμάσει πρέπει πρώτα να υπάρξει. Δεν είναι λοιπόν οι άνθρωποι που την αποτελούν αλλά η επιχρυσωμένη απόχρωση της ύπαρξης, με το άρωμα και τη γεύση της αλήθειας και της ζωής. Μιας ζωής που βρίσκεται παντού υπό τον όρο πως σε κάθε γλυκύτητα υπάρχει και η αντίστοιχη πίκρα. Η εμπειρία απο την αναχώρηση, την υποχώρηση την εξάντληση και την βασανιστική φθορά, μας οδηγεί στην απόλαυση του επιδόρπιου που σερβίρεται τελευταίο και γίνεται το κινητήριο μοτίβο της ύπαρξης. Το επιδόρπιο της ψυχής είναι η γεύση εκείνης της αχνής μυρωδιάς της γλυκύτητας της ζωής. ****Παρόλα αυτά κάτι έμεινε κενό στη δική μου αναγνωστική αίσθηση ή κάτι με κούρασε περισσότερο απο το επιτρεπτό. Καλή ανάγνωση. Πολλούς ασπασμούς.

  • Vit Babenco
    2019-03-14 18:03

    “So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.” Matthew 20:16The Leopard is a novel about the first becoming last and the last first…Plants were growing in thick disorder on the reddish clay; flowers sprouted in all directions, and the myrtle hedges seemed put there to prevent movement rather than guide it. At the end a statue of Flora speckled with yellow-black lichen exhibited her centuries-old charms with an air of resignation; on each side were benches holding quilted cushions, also of gray marble; and in a corner the gold of an acacia tree introduced a sudden note of gaiety. Every sod seemed to exude a yearning for beauty soon muted by languor.Aristocracy still enjoys luxury but the process of decline has already set in and it is irrevocable.The wealth of many centuries had been transmitted into ornament, luxury, pleasure; no more; the abolition of feudal rights had swept away duties as well as privileges; wealth, like an old wine, had let the dregs of greed, even of care and prudence, fall to the bottom of the barrel, leaving only verve and color. And thus eventually it cancelled itself out; this wealth which had achieved its object was composed now only of essential oils – and, like essential oils, it soon evaporated.The book is full of light irony and it is written in a charming manner. The author’s observations are precise and sharp.Similar to floods, that set afloat all the litter and trash, revolutions raise to the surface all the opportunists, timeservers and speculators who immediately hurry to leave everybody else behind and become the first.

  • Fionnuala
    2019-02-22 20:17

    Any words of mine about this famous book would be superfluous, so I thought I'd just add some images to the beautiful opening paragraph...“NUNC ET IN hora mortis nostrae. Amen.” The daily recital of the Rosary was over. For half an hour the steady voice of the Prince had recalled the Sorrowful and the Glorious Mysteries; for half an hour other voices had interwoven a lilting hum from which, now and again, would chime some unlikely word; love, virginity, death; and during that hum the whole aspect of the rococo drawing-room seemed to change; even the parrots spreading iridescent wings over the silken walls appeared abashed……even the Magdalen between the two windows looked a penitent and not just a handsome blonde lost in some dubious daydream as she usually was……Now, as the voices fell silent, everything dropped back into its usual order or disorder. Bendicò, the Great Dane, grieved at exclusion, came wagging its tail through the door by which the servants had left……The women rose slowly to their feet, their oscillating skirts as they withdrew baring bit by bit the naked figures from mythology painted all over the milky depths of the tiles. Only an Andromeda remained covered by the soutane of Father Pirrone, still deep in extra prayer, and it was some time before she could sight the silvery Perseus swooping down to her aid and her kiss……The divinities frescoed on the ceiling awoke. The troops of Tritons and Dryads, hurtling across from hill and sea amid clouds of cyclamen pink towards a transfigured Conca d’Oro and bent on glorifying the House of Salina, seemed suddenly so overwhelmed with exaltation as to discard the most elementary rules of perspective; meanwhile the major Gods and Goddesses, the Princes among Gods, thunderous Jove and frowning Mars and languid Venus, had already preceded the mob of minor deities and were amiably supporting the armorial shield of the Leopard. They knew that for the next twenty-three and a half hours they would be lords of the villa once again.……On the walls the monkeys went back to pulling faces at the cockatoos.…………………………………………………………Of course I can't leave it at that - I have to add a few words after all, but really just a few!An aspect of Giuseppe di Lampedusa's writing I really enjoyed was the way he gives life to inanimate objects, so I was on the look-out for other examples besides the ones in that extraordinary first paragraph: But it was the arrival of two young men in love which really awoke the instincts lying dormant in the house; and these now showed themselves everywhere, like ants woken by the sun, no longer poisonous, but livelier than ever. Even the architecture, the rococo décor itself, evoked thoughts of fleshly curves and taut erect breasts; and every opening door seemed like a curtain rustling in a bed-alcoveAnd here's another one: The two telescopes and three lenses were lying there quietly, dazed by the sun, with black pads over the eyepieces, like well-trained animals who knew their meal was only given them at night.Even death is endowed with sensuous life: Suddenly amid the group appeared a young woman; slim, in brown travelling dress and wide bustle, with a straw hat trimmed with a speckled veil which could not hide the sly charm of her face. She slid a little suède-gloved hand between one elbow and another of the weeping kneelers, apologised, drew closer. It was she, the creature for ever yearned for, coming to fetch him; strange that one so young should yield to him; the time for the train’s departure must be very close. When she was face to face with him she raised her veil, and there, chaste but ready for possession, she looked lovelier than she ever had when glimpsed in stellar space. The crashing of the sea subsided altogether.Coincidently, one of my other favourite passages is also associated with death and manages to be sensuous and serious at the same time : [the Prince] liked [Diego Ponteleone's] library and soon felt at his ease there; it did not oppose his taking possession for it was impersonal as are rooms little used; Ponteleone was not a type to waste his time in there. He began looking at a picture opposite him, a good copy of Greuze’s Death of the Just Man; the old man was expiring on his bed amid welters of clean linen, surrounded by afflicted grandsons, and by granddaughters raising arms towards the ceiling. The girls were pretty, and provoking: and the disorder of their clothes suggested sex more than sorrow; they, it was obvious at once, were the real subject of the picture. Even so Don Fabrizio was surprised for a second at Diego always having this melancholy scene before his eyes; then he reassured himself by thinking that the other probably entered that room only once or twice a year. Immediately afterwards he asked himself if his own death would be like that; probably it would, apart from the sheets being less impeccable (he knew that the sheets of those in their death agony are always dirty with spittle, ejections, medicine marks . . .) and it was to be hoped that Concetta, Carolina and his other women folk would be more decently clad. But the same, more or less. As always the thought of his own death calmed him as much as that of others disturbed him: was it perhaps because, when all was said and done, his own death would in the first place mean that of the whole world?…………………………………………………………A final few words: there were interesting shifts in the narrative, shifts which can make a reader dizzy, thinking, where am I, what's going on here? For example, the episode where a tragic reference from the future is used to describe one of the many sensuality-laden moments in the story. It happens when the Prince's future niece-in-law, Angelica, sumptuous as that name from Ariosto, who had recently disturbed the peace of the Salina household, arrives in the palace after her surprising betrothal to Tancredi:She sloughed off her father in the entrance hall; then with a swirl of wide skirts floated lightly up the numerous steps of the inner staircase and flung herself into the arms of Don Fabrizio; on his whiskers she implanted two big kisses which were returned with genuine affection; the Prince paused perhaps just a second longer than necessary to breathe in the scent of gardenia on adolescent cheeks. After this Angelica blushed, took half a step back: “I’m so, so happy . . .” then came close again, stood on tiptoe, and murmured into his ear “Nuncle!”; a highly successful line, comparable in its perfect timing to Eisenstein’s business with the pram, and which, explicit and secret as it was, set the Prince’s simple heart aflutter and yoked him to the lovely girl for ever.Eisenstein's 'business with the pram' is the long scene from his film The Battleship Potemkin (1925) which shows a baby's pram careening down 'numerous steps' during the Cossack massacre of civilians in Odessa.Fortunately, there were other references that worked better for me than that one, as when the Prince and his faithful gamekeeper trudge home after a day's shooting, and the author likens them to two of my favourite characters in literature: As they climbed down towards the road, it would have been difficult to tell which of the two was Don Quixote and which Sancho Panza.Perfect.

  • Aubrey
    2019-03-09 19:10

    Let's make one thing quite clear. I do not in any way claim to be objective, nor am I interested in ever being so. On the contrary, I delight in my opinions, and more importantly taking great lengths in ameliorating and deconstructing them in what I am aiming to be a neverending endeavor. What I wish for are thoughts and ideals that I both explicate upon and hold fast to, as well as an inherent sensitivity to what a particular occasion calls for. Panderings at neutrality can take a hike.This book offended me. There, I said it, long before anyone who is offended by another's offense can claim to my having wasted their time. Those who are more interested in valid discourse than polite niceties, stick around. Perhaps it'll be worth your while.What offended me exactly? A pet peeve, to be frank, one that I can usually prepare for when the warning signs are sufficiently displayed. This, however, was not the case, and I had the misfortune of unexpectedly slogging through yet another tome authored by a heterosexual man in love with his own cock. However, this fault is usually more of an annoyance than a fatality, but only if other features of the piece redeem the lazy characterization of women and juvenile focus on sexuality that usually accompanies such a tendency. This did not happen, and indeed the persistence of this disgusting flippancy reduced every other aspect of the novel to inconsequential, no matter how worthy of admiration they would have been on their own. It's one thing to be critical of a character, and quite another to be judgmental, especially when the last is coupled with unmitigated casual cruelty and otherwise sickening lack of empathy. If you based your insight into the female gender on this novel alone, you would be left with a picture of hysterical and empty headed poufs only worth the pleasures derived from their aesthetics and anatomy, hysterical due to their adoration of the male sexuality, empty headed because of the inescapable characteristic of being:childish and above all feminine in mind.There are many examples of this sort of authorial condemnation, including a passage that particularly exemplifies its origin being nothing but a sense of entitled bigotry, this being a priest dwelling on a niece whose marriage to a cousin who impregnated her is hoped to resolve a familial conflict.And he thought of how the Lord, to bring about His justice, can even use bitches in heat.Those who decry the translation to be at fault for this, please. The meaning is quite clear, and frankly, I prefer not having my sensibilities to this sort of composition blinded by obscene amounts of purple prose. Besides, I'd like to see a translation handle this sentence any 'better', I really would.Outside of this issue, there is of course the dying Sicilian aristocracy embodied in a single man ever dwelling on his decadent ideals and his coming demise, something that would have been melancholic had the character managed to invoke my empathy. As it stands, I was not impressed by the prose, the historical nuances, the authorial 'reasoning' behind the need for the church to continue hoarding its mounds of wealth and the preference of the peasantry to remain horribly oppressed than to hope for change, and especially the main character's musings that came off more as spoiled hogwash than any sort of noble insight. If you want to convince me to look past all the disagreeable ideologies and enjoy everything else, works in the vein Memoirs of Hadrian and Imperial Woman are the way to go. This is not.

  • K.D. Absolutely
    2019-02-21 19:16

    You have a stable job. You own your house. You drive your own car. Your daughter is studying in an exclusive school. You can buy any book you take fancy on. You can dine at any restaurant anytime. You can buy any clothes you want. In short, you have a comfortable life. What if all these are taken away from you? Let’s say your company closes shop? What if you are stricken with cancer and you have to spend millions for your operation? What if you run over a man who is crossing the street on one rainy dark evening and you have to spend your savings to pay the dead man’s family? Then insurance company declares bankruptcy?A rich man's downfall. That’s basically what The Leopard by Giusseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa is all about. It tells about the fall of the nobles and aristocrats in Sicily during the latter part of the 19th century. The fall may not be due to a split-second incident like running over a man crossing the street. It is painful and slow and it due to transfer of political power. The novel opens at the start of Giuseppe Giribaldi’s campaign to unify Italy or Risorgimento in 1860 with his Redshirts soldiers, also known as The Thousands. The reunification resulted to the adoption of the Tricolor in their national flag.This reminded me of Peter Esterhazy’s Celestial Harmonies which is about the fall of the House of Esterhazy, a Hungarian noble family in Hungary. Somehow I also got reminded of Russia at the crossroad in the two works of Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace and Anna Karenina. and even Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind since it is also about the Southern States being swept in the changing periods of time.The writing is deft and glorious. I am still mesmerized by the richness of Lampedusa’s prose and the individualness of his characters. Each of his characters contribute to the plot and the sending of his message: that nothing in this world is permanent; even kings cannot be saved by their golds. However, the fall of the noble Salinas family did not stop when its prince, Don Fabrizio Corbera died in 1883. The last chapter called Relics extends the story to the prince’s three old and gray daughters that reminded me of the generation of the Buendia family that last appeared in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. Even this falling action has its own theme: that what our forefathers did have some impact or influence to who we are now: as a nation, a community, a family or even as individuals.The title The Leopard or “Il Gattopardo” (as it was originally published in Italian) was due to the fact that leopard is the family insigna of the Salinas. There is also a scene when the prince, Don Fabricio and the newly rich Don Calogero, whose daughter Angelica will be marrying Don Fabricio’s wayward nephew Prince Tancredi Falconieri, is touring his mansion and in one of the rooms are portraits of different animals. If you love dogs, the prince has a dog called Bendico who symbolizes the nobility of the family. He is cute and loyal to the prince. To preserve his memory, when he dies, the surviving daughters of the prince take his skin and make a rug out of it. In the later part of the book, one of them throws the rug away. Most dog characters are used as cosmetic but because of the dog’s skin in the last chapter, I’d say that Lampedusa’s use of Bendico as a symbol is just one of the best I’ve read so far.Giribaldi’s unification did not succeed though. Just like in many transfer of power, it was just from one kind of hand to another: from the hands of the aristocrats to the hands of the middle class, many of whom got new-rich status afterwards. Some years later, the hands transferred to the communists’ hands. We should always be thankful of what we have. Cherish the people we love. Take care of the things we currently enjoy. For as they say, some good things never last. Even ourselves, we are all just passing through.

  • Miriam
    2019-03-04 17:10

    The Leopard. One of the four "big cats," it is a fierce predator: fast, voracious, strong enough to crush a skull with its jaws and to drag an animal almost as heavy as itself into a tree. Fearsome.(view spoiler)[ (hide spoiler)]Like most felines, the leopard expends energy in massive bursts and must sleep for the most of the day to recoup its strength for the hunt. Do these long stretches of dormancy make the leopard lazy? Would it, free from the demands of hunger, wile away day after day in slumber? Of course not. Anyone who has visited a zoo and witnessed the miserable, restless pacing of the great cats knows that they crave physical action and mental stimulation as much as they crave food and rest. Humans may be better at accustoming themselves to inactivity, distracting themselves from the emptiness of their lives with petty, time-filling concerns, but we too crave meaningful activity. The ideal for the Roman gentleman was otium -- leisure. But not an empty, inert leisure; otium was rather the "leisure" of having free time to read, write, and converse intelligently with friends about intellectually stimulating topics. It was assumed that otium would be balanced by the substantial demands of negotiis, the daily demands of business, home, political life, et alia. Larger amounts of otium might be the dutiful Roman's reward after a long career of military or civil service. In Lampedusa's The Leopard we see what happens when the idealization of leisure is retained without the demands of work and duty: neglect, stagnation, decay. Emptied of purpose and meaning, life becomes empty of pleasure as well, losing its savor when it no longer has has limits or contrasts. Otio qui nescit uti . . .["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • J
    2019-02-19 13:07

    I. Nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae. Now, and in the hour of our death. Amen.Thus begins Lampedusa’s masterpiece, his paean to death. Sensuous, insightful, subtle, The Leopard is a work of absolute beauty. In 1860 Don Fabrizio, Prince of Salina, is watching the lifeblood seep from his world: the power and the prestige, the unquestioned honors are all fading away, being bled out by revolution. He simply watches it go. He is resigned to it as he is resigned to his own nature. Sated ease tinged with disgust. His one constant joy in life, where he can escape this sense of himself, is the stars. He’s an astronomer and in the sky he finds blissful anonymity. There is no false revolution there. In the limitlessness of the sky there are no worries, only the reassurance that none of the rest matters because nothing ever really changes.II. The history is interesting, but it’s superficial. E. M. Forster said The Leopard is not a historical novel, but a novel which happens to take place in history. The real story is something else. Somewhere between the characters – drawn too well to be forgotten – and the very fiber of Sicilians themselves.All Sicilian expression, even the most violent, is really wish-fulfillment: our sensuality is a hankering for oblivion, our shooting and knifing a hankering for death; our languor, our exotic vices, a hankering for voluptuous immobility, that is for death again.Under this definition, I know a number of Sicilians who’ve never set foot in Sicily.Perhaps only Tancredi had understood for an instant, when he had said with that subdued irony of his, “Uncle, you are courting death.” Don Fabrizio looks for her constantly, sniffing the air for her scent, expecting to find her at every turn. This yearning for oblivion is so strong it’s a tangible thing. Fingering the rosary beads in the very first sentence. Nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae. Young lovers discovering ways of satisfying dark desires lost to the consciousness; beneath the conscious, the house, the gardens, the very air exhales it. Blackmail through beauty, redemption through blood. A dying man: A long open wagon came by stacked with bulls killed shortly before at the slaughterhouse, already quartered and exhibiting their intimate mechanism with the shamelessness of death. At intervals a big thick red drop fell onto the pavement. At a crossroad he glimpsed the sky to the west, above the sea. There was Venus, wrapped in her turban of autumn mist. She was always faithful, always waiting for Don Fabrizio on his early morning outings, at Donnafugata before a shoot, now after a ball. Don Fabrizio sighed. When would she decide to give him an appointment less ephemeral, far from carcasses and blood, in her own region of perennial certitude?III. Floating above this longing for oblivion there is a story. Parts of it parallel the politics of Italy. Parts of it made my heart ache. There are sly bits that made me laugh. Restless and domineering, the Princess dropped her rosary brusquely into her jet-fringed bag, while her fine crazy eyes glanced around at her slaves of children and her tyrant of a husband, over whom her diminutive body vainly yearned for loving dominion.IV. Finally, let’s start at the beginning. From the back cover: Set in the 1860s, The Leopard tells the spellbinding story of a decadent, dying Sicilian aristocracy threatened by the approaching forces of democracy and revolution. The dramatic sweep and richness of observation, the seamless intertwining of public and private worlds, and the grasp of human frailty imbue The Leopard with its particular melancholy beauty and power, and place it among the greatest historical novels of our time.

  • Eric
    2019-02-25 20:23

    What complaints I have about The Leopard are minutely stylistic; and because "to present any writer in translation is to present him bereft of his style," as Clarence Brown, one of Mandelstam’s English avatars, reminds us, I won’t dwell on the elaborate clunkiness and awkward extensions of Lampedusa’s metaphors, especially those applied to the inner emotional states of his characters. In Italian this figurative language may be impossibly smooth. What I love in this novel is its morbid and pessimistic sensuality, its Gotho-Baudelairean heritage. The Prince’s garden, where his dog revels in “dead lizards and manure,” exhales a miasma of “cloying, fleshy, and slightly putrid” scents; the cuttings of roses, brought by the Prince from Paris, in Sicily’s climate and soil yield what look like “flesh-colored cabbages”; moist, heavy, pudendal — "The Prince put one under his nose and seemed to be sniffing the thigh of a dancer from the Opera.” Sicily having become a civic battleground between the Bourbon dynasty and nationalist rebels, some time passes before anyone is able to distinguish the odor of a decomposing soldier from the garden’s riot of other sweet stinks. The high point for me is when the Prince’s nephew, Tancredi, and his fiancé Angelica roam the fairy tale labyrinthine reaches of the dilapidated palace at Donnafugata. Having eluded their chaperones, and watched only by “a shepherdess glancing down consenting from some obliterated fresco,” the two one day enter a hidden door into an enigmatic suite of rooms — well, enigmatic to their innocence — all floored with white marble sloping away toward gutters. There are mirrors across the walls (some smashed) and “wide, too wide” sofas (“showing nails with traces of silk that had been torn away”), and on the fireplaces “delicate little marble intaglios, naked figures in paroxysms...mutilated by some furious hammer.” The libertine's elegant dungeon, though defaced and sealed by horrified descendants, still yields up a bundle of small whips to the lovers’ snooping—and they discover still other whips, in the wing consecrated to the memory of a pious ancestor who flagellated his sinful flesh. I laughed so loud. A lineage of lashes — sign of “the human ‘always’” the Prince thinks of when an official boasts of the efficiency and modernity the new regime will bring to Sicily. The Salinas, when libertine, beat others; when pious, they beat themselves — the ancestral palace a “universe of extinct vices, forgotten virtues, and above all, perennial desire.” But I don’t mean to give the impression that The Leopard is a Surrealist shriek or a Decadent’s delirium. The really febrile elements are held at an distance, in the stately realist integrity of a historical novel that also concerns itself with democracy and nationalism, clerical disestablishment and the rise of the middle classes. Lampedusa’s external biography — an apparently idle Sicilian aristocrat, fantastically erudite, mariolatrous and homebound à la Borges, who read and waited and read some more, finally undertaking his only novel at age fifty-seven — perfectly answers the curious, compounded, involuted feel of The Leopard, its air of something dreamt in its particulars long before ordered as a narrative.

  • Hanneke
    2019-03-01 20:18

    A book full of the deepest melancholy and feelings of loss, poetic language and irony. I loved this book. Other people have written beautiful reviews about it, to which I have nothing to add. I refer in particular to the review of Jeffrey Keeten or the review in Dutch of Sini. Both reflect my sentiments completely.

  • Nikoleta
    2019-02-25 13:13

    Πολύ καλό ιστορικό βιβλίο. Αυτό που το εξυψώνει δεν είναι τόσο η ιστορία του αλλά η υπέροχη γλώσσα και η μαγευτική αφήγηση του. Με κέρδισε ολοκληρωτικά επίσης, και η διεισδυτική ματιά του συγγραφέα σε αυτές τις μικρές λεπτομέρειες -τις οποίες μας παρουσιάζει με εξαιρετικό τρόπο- που είναι λες και μας φανερώνει μικρά κομμάτια της ψυχής των ηρώων... πολύ καλό βιβλίο...

  • Emilio Berra
    2019-03-11 14:21

    Romanzo pubblicato a metà degli anni '50, in piena crisi del Neorealismo.Ambientato in Sicilia nel periodo (almeno nella prima parte) dello sbarco di Garibaldi, rappresenta la crisi dell'aristocrazia e l'ascesa della classe borghese. Ma protagonista assoluto rimane il Principe di Salina, il cui emblema è appunto il Gattopardo.Gli altri personaggi mi son parsi poco più che pedine, anche il nipote Tancredi spinto a sposare Angelica, la graziosa figlia di un rozzo proprietario terriero, per 'cambiare affinché nulla cambi': solo la loro reciproca infatuazione riesce a velare un matrimonio d'interesse.L'orgogliosa personalità del Principe, 'superiore' alle piccole vicende della vita, lo porta ad osservare la realtà che lo circonda con distaccata obiettività scorgendovi la pochezza dei componenti della propria classe sociale che è costretto a frequentare (il meno possibile). La sua parziale via di fuga è l'interesse per l'astronomia, che lo connota anche simbolicamente : in fondo non fa nulla di utile, non è nemmeno un buon marito né un buon padre ; il suo 'splendido isolamento' e la sua eleganza sono l'emblema dell'ultimo vero aristocratico, si direbbe, della Sicilia.Non stupiamoci,dunque, che anche la morte gli appaia in forma galante, nella figura di una distinta e affascinante signora "di maliosa avvenenza" : "era lei, la creatura bramata da sempre, che veniva prenderlo".

  • Nickolas the Kid
    2019-03-08 19:06

    Πολύ δυνατό βιβλίο... Ο Γατόπαρδος είναι ένα κλασικό ανάγνωσμα για όλους τους βιβλιόφιλους.Μέσα στις σελίδες αυτού του βιβλίου περιγράφεται η πορεία του Οίκου Σαλίνα κατά την διάρκεια των μεγάλων αλλαγών στην Σικελία και σε ολόκληρη την Ιταλία. Ο βασικός χαρακτήρας είναι ο Ντον Φαμπρίτσιο ο οποίος βλέπει την παλιά εποχή να φεύγει και υποδέχεται την καινούργια με στωικότητα... Ο Λαμπεντούζα μιλάει για το παλιό, το νέο, το μέλλον και το παρόν. Οι χαρακτήρες πολλοί και ενδιαφέροντες, δίνουν σίγουρα μια απίστευτη διαχρονικότητα στο βιβλίο. Προσωπικά έκανα ατελείωτους παραλληλισμούς με την Ευρώπη του σήμερα...Φινετσάτη και συγκλονιστική αναγνωστική εμπειρία...4,5* (όχι 5 γιατί ελαφρώς κουράστηκα από τα πολλά ιστορικά στοιχεία)...

  • Barry Pierce
    2019-02-25 21:25

    What do I think of this? On one hand I want to laud it as being a classic of Italian literature, imbued with the essence of Lermontov and breadth of Tolstoy. However, on the other hand, this is essentially just one long episode of Downton Abbey but with less Maggie Smith and more Garibaldi. I'm conflicted about this one a bit because it does have some really boring parts but then it has some just magical passages. Eh, I liked it, but it's barely clinging on to those three stars.

  • Ademption
    2019-03-06 19:21

    The quintessence of melancholy, The Leopard, lets the reader try on the skin of the titular character: the last prince in a declining aristocracy. It reminded me of Under the Volcano. I was pushed to empathize with the last leonine lord of Sicily as intimately as I did with the alcoholic diplomat in Under the Volcano, despite never having aspirations towards being crowned or pickled. Both novels deal with cornered people doing their best while their world turns to dust. The Leopard is beautiful, and darkly funny, while Lowry's novel is from a much harsher cast of gorgeousness (Think: The Smiths vs. Placebo). I also found it comforting that the Leopard had the same complaints and human afflictions we all do. All the relationships, affairs, and finest products in the world do nothing to cure him of falling short of an ideal. It gave me a sense of peace about my place in the world and in history. Nothing will be left of me a century after my death, and that is freeing as fuck. All the worry that comes from ambition won't cure me from the human condition.

  • Carla
    2019-02-28 18:06

    Quem me dera que este livro nunca terminasse… Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

  • Teresa Proença
    2019-03-06 13:12

    "Foi à procura de um lugar onde se pudesse sentar tranquilo, longe dos homens, amados e irmãos, sim, mas sempre tão maçadores. Encontrou-o depressa: a biblioteca, pequena, silenciosa, bem iluminada e vazia."(Arnold Böcklin, The Isle of the Dead, 1883)O Leopardo - romance em oito partes, cronologicamente divididas entre Maio de 1860 e Maio de 1910 - narra a história de uma família da nobreza siciliana e a sua decadência, originada pelas alterações políticas e sociais decorrentes da unificação italiana liderada por Garibaldi. "Se queremos que tudo continue como está, é preciso mudar tudo."Don Fabrizio, o Príncipe de Salina, é o patriarca da família. É um homem de cinquenta anos, com um físico imponente e uma personalidade marcante. O seu casamento é um aborrecimento - "O amor. Claro, o amor. Fogo e chamas durante um ano, cinzas durante trinta." - e os filhos são uma desilusão. Refugia-se nos passeios com o seu cão, nas caçadas e na observação dos astros. E a pensar na morte, que encara com serenidade e sabedoria muitos anos antes de ela chegar. "Don Fabrizio pensava que é devido à ignorância íntima desse consolo supremo que os jovens sentem as dores de uma forma mais aguda do que os velhos: para estes, a saída de emergência está mais próxima."O Leopardo é de uma beleza infinita, maior quanto menor a nossa distância da "saída de emergência"...«"Tenho setenta e três anos, no total terei vivido, verdadeiramente vivido, um total de dois... três anos no máximo". E as dores, o tédio, quanto tinham eles durado? Era inútil cansar-se a fazer as contas - tudo o resto: setenta anos.»(Arnold Böcklin, The Isle of the Dead, 1886)"Não era permitido odiar nada a não ser a eternidade."

  • [P]
    2019-03-21 19:06

    The other day I found a grey hair, by which I mean on my own head, of course, not on the floor. If I was in my forties, or upwards, I may have anticipated such a thing, but, in my naivety, I didn’t think it possible at my age. Yet there it was, gesturing to me in an offensive manner; it was like staring at a crowd of people and suddenly spotting, deep in their midst, a child looking my way and insouciantly giving me the finger. I’ve been, it is fair to say, somewhat perturbed ever since; I keep checking the backs of my hands, and around my eyes, for signs of wrinkles, and any slight twinge or ache strikes me as the inevitable, irrevocable, breaking down of my mechanism. This is, and always has been, my worst fear. Decline, old age, and their tyrannical father: death. How on earth do you face up to that? You haven’t got much of a choice, I guess. How awful! Some people are blasé about it; ‘it’s fine,’ they say, ‘ageing is a positive thing; ‘I’m not afraid of death,’ they say, ‘I’m more concerned about how I will go.’ I’ve never understood all that. I’m don’t care one bit about the manner of my death, it’s the fact that it is going to happen at all that bothers me; it’s the not-being that terrifies me. ‘But wouldn’t it be terrible to be immortal, to remain young, while all your loved ones, your family and friends, age and pass away?’ No, it’d be glorious! Make no mistake I’d gaily skip down the street as the last man on earth.There have been many fine novels about all of this – Samuel Beckett, for example, wrote reams of them – but I think my favourite is Il Gattopardo, or The Leopard, by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. In the opening pages of the novel, we are introduced to Don Fabrizio, the Sicilian aristocrat who dominates the book. The imposing, heavy-set, Prince of Salina is an old-fashioned sort, conservative in values where his family are concerned, but more than willing to give himself major leeway. For example, he demands the utmost respect and propriety from his children, and yet brazenly cheats on his wife and, on one occasion, drags Father Pirrone along on one of his amorous escapades, almost as a display of his power. The children are, of course, petrified of him; it is noted that the household cutlery has had to be straightened numerous times, for their father, in moments of anger or irritation, has a tendency to grasp knifes and forks and spoons in his heavy paws and bend them.In contrast to his outward displays of strength, the domineering Fabrizio is, privately, prone to melancholy and self-pity. He may rule his children and wife with the proverbial iron fist, but this does not stop them from disappointing him; in fact, almost everything disappoints him. His son, Paolo, is referred to as a ‘booby,’ and is less than favourably compared with the Prince’s nephew, Tancredi. Fabrizio appears to have more affection for his daughter, Concetta, but even she frequently irritates him, and is, sadly, no match, in terms of looks, for Angelica Sedara, the daughter of a nouveau riche Mayor, whom Tancredi wishes to marry. His wife, on the other hand, is a woman of strained nerves, who is no longer sexually alluring to him; indeed, her pious reserve [Fabrizio claims to have never seen her navel] is used as justification for infidelity. This disappointment also extends to himself, or at least his own mortality, and to the state of the country.The Leopard is set in the years 1860-1862, 1883 and 1910, during a period in history known as the Risorgimento, the aim of which was the unification of Italy. It was, then, a time of revolution, change, and unrest. On this basis, one could legitimately call The Leopard a political novel, but the politics feed into the broader and, for me, more important and engaging themes of decline and death. In the most literal way, war or revolution drag death and destruction in their wake, of course, and this is brought into sharp focus when the mutilated body of a soldier is found in the Prince’s garden. But what the Risorgimento really represents, what it brings home to Don Fabrizio, is that the old ways, his ways, are numbered. Indeed, one of the aims of the Risorgimento was a levelling of the classes, so while the rich and powerful Don Fabrizio is not directly involved in the conflict his kind are, in a way, a target, and therefore they are, culturally-socially, on borrowed time.“We were the Leopards, the Lions; those who’ll take our place will be little jackals, hyenas; and the whole lot of us, Leopards, jackals, and sheep, we’ll all go on thinking ourselves the salt of the earth.”Unfortunately, the Prince, like all of us, is also on borrowed time physically. One of the most impressive aspects of the novel is how the decline of the old ways of Italy are actually mirrored in Fabrizio’s own personal decline; the two reflect each other. Despite being only in his forties, from the very beginning there is a sense that the Prince is no longer at his peak, that he is not staring proudly from the heights of physical perfection, but is steadily making his way back down the mountain. For example, Don Fabrizio’s sensual-sexual nature is frequently alluded to; as noted, he cheats on his wife, and he is struck by, and excited by, Angelica’s attractions [her beauty, her body, etc]. However, he is also fully aware that he is no longer in the running, so to speak, that the vibrant young woman will prefer the charming, and also young, Tancredi. This is not the same, alas, as saying that he is happy about it. Far from it; he feels, rather, a twinge of jealousy, a sexual jealousy that is not particularly admirable, of course, but is understandable.“To kneel before Angelica would be a pleasure, but what if he found it difficult to get up afterwards?”To say that the Prince is not as vital as he once was, and that Italy is at war and going through important social-political changes, does not do justice to how deeply ingrained the book’s preoccupations and themes are. I said before that it is perhaps the greatest novel about death and decline, and to understand this one must read it, because these things are present in the text on almost every page. Indeed, Lampedusa’s work is so rich in allusions and references to them that the atmosphere is of a unrelenting gloominess, almost regardless of the main narrated action. For example, it is at one point noted that the Prince’s initials on a wine glass have begun to fade; Bendico, his dog, noses his way through the garden smelling of ‘dead lizards and manure’; Fabrizio goes hunting at Donnafugata, but hardly ever shoots anything, because there are scant targets; as payment for rent he is given slaughtered lambs, stories are shared about poisoned holy water and people cut up into little pieces, and so on.“As always the thought of his own death calmed him as much as that of others disturbed him: was it perhaps because, when all was said and done, his own death would in the first place mean that of the whole world?”Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, himself a Sicilian aristocrat, only ever wrote one novel; and even this was rejected numerous times and was published only after his own death. If I had to guess as to why it wasn’t instantly appreciated I would perhaps point to the intricate, detailed prose as being something of an acquired taste. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love it; in fact, I consider Lampedusa to be one of the very finest prose stylists; his extended metaphors alone make reading the book worthwhile. But it is decidedly Proustian, perhaps more so than any other that gets lumbered with that tag, and his prose, by which I mean Marcel’s, is also an acquired taste [it seems]. Moreover, Lampedusa’s novel lacks the emotional sturm and drang of certain parts of In Search of Lost Time, is just not as viscerally exciting as, say, Sodom and Gomorrah. The Leopard is a slow book, a deeply ruminative book, with very little action. It is, the author himself claimed, not very good. He was wrong, of course; it’s a masterpiece. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to listen to Frank Sinatra’s It Was a Very Good Year, and then go quietly weep in a corner.

  • Whitaker
    2019-03-08 19:09

    It is no coincidence that The Leopard is bookended by two corpses: a decomposing one at the beginning, and an embalmed one at the end. The middle is filled with the story of a third corpse whose slow decomposition and putrefaction make up the meat of the novel. Rigour mortis first sets in, as traditions rigidify the body. It gets devoured internally, its body bloating, consumed by its own bacteria—the peasants that require the pacification and gifts demanded by noblesse oblige, the expensive pomp and ceremony demanded of membership in the aristocracy. Gradually, slowly, the corpse is consumed by blowflies and maggots—the nouveau riche who buy off its properties at fire sale prices. Finally, in a final transformation, new vegetation sprouts from the rich soil of the decomposed body, new growth that will in its turn die and be devoured in the eternal transformation of societal evolution. All the while, the sweet stench of decay mingles with the heady odour of beauty and memories of a more vigorous and virile youth. Lampedusa captures it all in ambivalently lambent language, the beauty really of deadly nightshade or angel’s trumpet. Lovely.

  • Luís C.
    2019-03-11 21:18

    "Everything will continue as before, only more wealthy. The people had neither land reform nor Republic, or autonomy. The aristocracy gentrifies up and the bourgeoisie purchase titles of nobility. The stagnation, the cyclopean immobility, an ancient people and that intended as ever. a backdrop for a powerful novel."I'm delighted with the richness of language and sarcastic speeches of Don FabrizioThe adaptation for cinema was made by the principal actors/actresses:-Burt Lancaster-Alain Delon-Claudia Cardinale-Terence Hill

  • Teresa
    2019-02-28 19:10

    Unlike in many other novels of historical fiction, Tomasi makes no secret of the fact that he is writing from the vantage of hindsight. And though they were few, I enjoyed his narratorial asides, some ironic, some sobering. But what I loved more than anything else is the elegant writing; you are in a dream as the sentences flow by. Two sections stand out as especially beautiful: the young couple playing amongst the closed-off ruins of rooms in the palace and the main character facing death -- such haunting, effective images throughout! The ending rests on one of my favorite themes as "a new layer of soil fell on the tumulus of truth."I am also pleased to have finally read this as my books-read list is lacking in Italian writers. This is especially egregious considering I am of Sicilian descent. Seriously, could The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily be the only other book by an Italian author that I've read?!*P.S. And the answer to my sort-of rhetorical question above is a resounding NO. Due to a memory jog by Michael (see comments 18 and 20), I realized that I have read more Italian writers than I originally thought!

  • Netta
    2019-02-25 18:08

    One may rarely add something significant to the enormous amount of what's been already said about a book that brilliant. And yet I can't resist.For some reason I can't but compare The Leopard to The Cherry Orchard, Chekhov's play which (as any decent pupil in Russia) I studied at school (apparently too thoroughly to get rid of the images of the characters). In both cases we see people dealing with a time of changes. Chekhov's character, Lyubov Andreievna, a representative – or I'd better say a specimen - of old Russian aristocracy, is a landowner fallen on hard times at the beginning of 20th century. She's broke and, as many aristocrats of her time, unable to deal with challenges of the fast-changing world. Lampedusa's character, Fabrizio Corbera, Prince of Salina, too, a representative of old aristocracy, meets reader in the midst of civil war and revolution, at times when many people are forced to revalue their beliefs and goals. There's a huge gap in time and space between these two people, but there's something that makes them very similar. It's the aristocratic core – the set of traits which inevitably dooms both Russian noblewoman of the beginning of 20th century and Italian nobleman of the 19th century. As if this class had been destined to go through never-ending decadence, sometimes dressed as a never-ending prosperity. As if these people, belonging to the ancient houses, always lack the ability to adapt.Although the main themes are similar (to me), the approach is different. Where Chekhov chooses to focus on the drama of a few people which you can easily extend to the drama of a generation or a social class, Lampedusa chooses to focus on the drama of the whole country which you will inevitably (and quickly) narrow to the drama of one family. Where Chekhov deals with the problems of the very particular period and the very particular social class, Lampedusa deals with something more universal. To me, the Risorgimento in The Leopard is a mere scenery. However, this scenery cannot be omitted but nonetheless can be changed or transformed into any other time of fracture that Italy has ever been through. The social drama of the novel would’ve changed in this case, but the grain of timeless suffering will remain. The Leopard, as I see it, is the story of what time can do to a man, of a disappointment, unrequited love, regret, broken lives and, mostly, that never-ending process of dying which begins the moment we’re born. I loved the way this story is told because it reminds me of good old classics where all-knowing author gently takes your hand and leads you through his characters' lives, showing you around, and you see people busy living their lives and minding their own business, dreaming of what is to come and hoping for better life. The author though always whispers you the ugly truth – things that actually wait around the corner, and you end up knowing so many things about characters that you have no other choice but sympathize with them.The Leopard is one of the best books I've read this year and definitely the one I'd like to revisit again. It's charming in a very special way (the way of any good book on unparalleled hardship and immense regret). It's aphoristic but not in an importunate way. It's worth to be talked about and discussed, and, what is more important, it's worth to be read (at least to form your own opinion).

  • Andrei Tamaş
    2019-03-13 20:21

    "Ghepardul" are o valoare simbolică. El este o frescă a societăţii aristocratice siciliene din timpul şi de după unificarea de la 1860. Pe fundalul întâlnirii cu pitorescul sicilian, cititorul ia contact cu don Fabrizio, principe de Salina, care se rezemneaza în faţa istoriei, concretizând un raport tragic între clasa socială şi avântul ideologic al societăţii. Dacă privim criteriul persuasiv al romanului (intenţia autorului), aceasta nu se poate descifra (ceea ce arată caracterul lui neorealist): el prezintă căderea casei Salina aşa cum a fost ea, fără a o proslăvi sau, deopotrivă, a o stigmatiza din pricina superiorităţii ei închipuite. Istoria este, la urma urmei, un cumul de fapte, reprezentat posterităţii pentru a înţelege neleguirile trecutului, care, deşi constituţionale (la un moment dat), deloc morale. Aş recomanda romanul tuturor celor care caută descrierile à la carte (Lampedusa, prin "Ghepardul", aduce a Zola). Mai găsim "scăpări" artistice de mare valoare: "propriile-i suferinţe, trecătoare, în lumea durabilă a istoriei".Pentru amatorii de conflicte ideologice, e musai de citit, aşa, la o cafea, secvenţele "Un piemontez soseşte la Donnafugata" şi "Chevalley şi don Fabrizio" din capitolul al patrulea.De asemenea, romanul a fost ecranizat în 1963, în regia impozantului Luchino Visconti (care a adaptat romanele lui Mann), cu Burt Lancaster, Alain Delon şi Claudia Cardinale în rolurile principale.

  • Stefania T.
    2019-03-12 16:21

    Di una tale chirurgica (ed ironica) luciditá e di una tale struggente bellezza - narrativa, stilistica, psicologica e poetica: in grado, nel medesimo fulmineo istante, di essere tanto divina quanto disperante - da essere doloroso.È doloroso voltare l'ultima pagina, lasciarlo andare ha lo stridore opprimente di qualcosa che ti venga strappato via.

  • Hakan T
    2019-03-01 13:08

    Bu kitap bana bir kez daha, Üniversitede en sevdiğimiz hocalardan olan ve maalesef erken kaybettiğimiz Oral Sander’in, bir ülkenin tarihini, toplumunu anlamak için sadece bilimsel kitaplar değil, o ülkeyle ilgili edebiyat eserlerini de okumamız gerektiği sözünün ne kadar doğru olduğunu hatırlattı. Lampedusa’yı ve öldükten sonra (1958) yayınlanabilen tek romanı Leopar’ı ilk kez Javier Marias’ın o nefis Yazınsal Yaşamlar’ında duymuş, romana bir kitapçıda rastlayınca da hemen almıştım. Hüzünlü ve güçlü bir tarihsel roman bu. Tabii yalnız tarihsel bir roman diye yaftalamak bu kitaba haksızlık olur; her sağlam edebiyat eseri gibi, insanın doğası aslında anlatılan. Başta biraz içine girmekte zorlandım. Belki yoğun bir dönemimde aralıklarla okumam da bunu etkilemiş olabilir. Ama sonra kendini keyifle okuttu. 1860-1910 tarihleri arasında geçse de ağırlığını 1860’lar oluşturuyor. Dağınık prensliklerden oluşan İtalya’nın birleşme sürecinde Sicilya’da karizmatik bir prensin Don Fabrizio’nun (Leopar) hikayesi, dolu ama aynı zamanda melankolik yaşamı anlatılıyor. Soyluların yavaş yavaş düşüşü, burjuvazinin yükselişi, ruhban sınıfının konumu, tüm bu süreçte insani ilişkiler büyük bir incelikle işleniyor. Sicilya’nın gerek toplumsal dokusu, gerek doğası harika bir şekilde tasvir ediliyor.

  • Paul
    2019-03-12 21:02

    A rich and luscious novel about a decaying aristocratic family in nineteenth century Sicily. The main protagonists are the Salina family and especially Don Fabrizio (the Leopard of the title) the head of the family. Most of the novel takes place in the early 1860s and there is great descriptive detail throughout capturing the heat and dust of the Sicilian countryside. Lampedusa's descriptions of scents and smells and a decaying grand house are sublime. Religion and the ritual of the Catholic church runs throughout the book as a theme and backdrop, dominating some characters. The events leading up to the unification of Italy and the exploits of Garibaldi are also part of the background and illustrate how the aristocracy adapted to the new order.Don Fabrizio dominates the book and his thoughts and feelings about the advent of modernity and the idionsyncracies of his rather repressed family and subtly and cleverly expressed. The other strand of the plot is the courtship and eventual marraige of Tancredi (Don Fabrizio's nephew) and the beautiful Angelica. There is a delicious passage where the courting couple are exploring the palace of Don Fabrizio at Donnafugata. There are hundreds of empty and abandoned rooms, not used for years. they stumble into the playroom of a libertine (probably eighteenth century). The walls are covered in mirrors, some broken, strategically placed beds and several whips (50 shades of Sicilian Grey no doubt). Nearby they find another room; smaller and much more sparse. There is a cross on the wall and I think a prie-dieux for prayer. On the wall is another whip; for self flagellation during prayer; only this time there are small lead balls fixed into the ends of the leather thongs; the church is so much more imaginative when it comes to pain and bondage (50 shades darker?)The last two chapters change the tone. We move to the 1880s and the death bed of Don Fabrizio. As death bed scenes go this one isn't bad; but the cliches of a generally peaceful death with family around are still there; as is the mandatory priest to pronounce the last rites. The sand running out description is interesting because it is taken to a different level and the fading of the noise in the room is cleverly described. The aloneness in a crowd feeling of the dying man is a little reminiscent of Beckett in Malone Dies. It is certainly different to Dickens' death bed scenes (I think it was Wilde who said that anyone who could read the death bed scene of Little Nell (Old Curiosity Shop) without laughing has to have a heart of stone). Having been at a number of death beds as a result of two of my former occupations; there is a little accuracy here. For a better description of death beds see Keizer's excellent Dancing with Mister D. However in this novel it works well.The last chapter takes us into the early twentieth century and Don Fabrizio's three unmarried daughters are still living in increasingly decaying circumstances; the gradual destruction of a way of life is almost complete.Worth a read; it captures a long gone way of life.

  • David
    2019-02-21 13:20

    Another classic I can cross off my "to read before I die" list. It's one of those books that has a definite low-key charm throughout and that ends up affecting you to an unexpected degree by the end. It tells the story of the decline of an aristocratic Sicilian family following Garibaldi's unification of Italy in 1860. The entire narrative spans half a century, but the vast majority of the action takes place in the months immediately surrounding the dissolution of the Bourbon monarchy of Sicily and Naples, focusing on the fortunes of Prince Fabrizio, the leopard of the title, and his family. The story is essentially Lampedusa's reimagining of his own family history, with the central figure of Prince Fabrizio corresponding to his great-grandfather. Upon its publication, the book managed to give offence across the entire political spectrum -- the Prince's skeptical ruminations on his fellow aristocrats, the clergy, the champions of the Risorgimento, and the Sicilian peasantry may have cut a little too close to the bone for comfort. Despite, or perhaps because of, the controversy it provoked, "The Leopard" went on to become (one of?) the top-selling novels in Italian history. The 1963 film based on the book, with Burt Lancaster in the title role, directed by Luchino Visconti also met with critical acclaim. Sadly, the author died of lung cancer in 1957, before the book was accepted for publication (he had received two rejections, with one editor declaring the manuscript to be "unpublishable").Although the fortunes of the Sicilian aristocracy might not seem like a particularly promising subject to engage the reader's interest, "The Leopard" is unexpectedly captivating. It works for a couple of reasons -- the main character is drawn with great affection, but also with depth and subtlety -- you enjoy spending time in his head. There's a slightly melancholy tone throughout the work that also adds to the book's appeal. It's easy to understand why "The Leopard" has become a minor classic. I enjoyed it far more than I had expected to.

  • Bryant
    2019-02-25 18:27

    Someone from Sicily once told me that Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s "The Leopard" is the "Gone with the Wind" of southern Italy. For that very comparison, I had foolishly avoided it. Now I see that while it indeed may be a “Gone with the Wind,” it is also a “Fathers and Sons,” a “Palace Walk” (Mahfouz’ Cairo Trilogy), a “Grapes of Wrath,” and a “King Lear,” only with a more rational leading man. It is also, quite appropriately, its own glorious thing, the only novel of a once-prince who observes the decay of his society with unwavering attention to the beauty that is dying all around him.As a student of pastoral poetry, I was particularly moved by the passages in which di Lampedusa describes Sicilian landscape. The “anti-pastoral” description suits well the anti-hero of this book:“ . . . there among the tamarisks and scattered cork trees appeared the real Sicily again, the one compared to which baroque towns and orange groves are mere trifles: aridly undulating to the horizon in hillock after hillock, comfortless and irrational, with no lines that the mind could grasp, conceived apparently in a delirious moment of creation . . .”

  • Eℓℓis ♥
    2019-02-22 14:00

    Recensione per il blog Piuma &Calamaio . :)