Book: Confessions of Zeno by Italo Svevo & Marciano Guerrerocategories: Book, Italo Svevo, James Joyce, Proust, Trieste, Psychoanalysis, Psychological Novel
Marciano Guerreroabout this book: Italo Svevo's Confessions of Zeno belongs to the comic tradition of Don Quixote and Tristram Shandy, though not in the realist manner, but rather in a psychological vein. From the beginning, the reader will have no doubt that he is confronting a paradoxical juxtaposition between things of the mind and things themselves. Zeno —the narrator and eponymous hero— on the surface is a hypochondriac, neurotic, quirky, solipsistic, self-examining and self-serving bourgeois; deep down, however, he is love and goodness incarnate, not by design but by the whims of life. Although Svevo wrote many other works, his opus magnum will remain his Confessions of Zeno. While Proust and others wrote lengthy psychological novels, by their sheer length and density, they become soporific. And While Joyce became enthralled with the latest novelistic techniques —particularly the stream of consciousness and indirect free style— to get inside the mind of his characters, Svevo accomplished the same thing without the new tools. Zeno is intriguing, suspenseful, engaging—never boring. A magnificent tour de force.
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