Background[ edit ] The novella was the last work the author completed before his death . Lampedusa, who conceived the story while staying with his cousins Casimiro and Lucio Piccolo di Calanovella , penned the work during the winter of The novella is a result of the brief and late creative period of the author who, in a very short tour of years , had written a small number of stories and works of various kinds, including essays and the novel Il Gattopardo. The manuscript was delivered by Elena Croce daughter of the philosopher Benedetto Croce to Giorgio Bassani , who oversaw the publication and wrote the accompanying preface. The result is a mutual interest and a familiar partnership that leads gradually to open up the professor confidently to that young man and tell him of an episode far, during the preparation for the competition for the chair of greek at the University of Pavia. In those days, the risk of mad crazy after months of study, he was invited by a friend to move to a deserted huts on the coast of Sicily , at Augusta , where the magical encounter with a mermaid Lighea, the daughter of Calliope , the muse of epic poetry.
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Shelves: short-stories , italian-literature The Professor and the Siren is a fantastic story in a prosaic frame that easily earns five stars. Aside to Renata Adler : Ms. Adler, you could learn so much from Lampedusa about demonstrating the despair that comes from being wealthy while still daily contending with death, decay, time and the general complaints of the human The Professor and the Siren is a fantastic story in a prosaic frame that easily earns five stars. Adler, you could learn so much from Lampedusa about demonstrating the despair that comes from being wealthy while still daily contending with death, decay, time and the general complaints of the human condition.
The Leopard made me feel excessively happy and sad often in the same moment. The leonine protagonist watches helplessly as his aristocracy declines into dust, and the ride is joyous, beautiful and sad. Adler, your work makes me think of time I was listening to some young turk at law school complain that his dad was the worst, because his dad bought him the wrong Benz, and how this was a serious problem staining his existence. Joy and the Law is what the back cover blurb terms a "parable," despite having no discernible lesson though perhaps one muddy principle that Lampedusa completely imagines.
Joy and the Law is embarrassing. It is the tale of an impoverished, overworked accountant who receives the gift of a fruit cake. Lampedusa, who was Sicilian royalty, was no doubt amusing himself by imagining what being poor and cash-strapped but still proud must be like. Clearly, Lampedusa thought ethical, saccharine poverty was romantique, and wanted to brush abstractly against these imagined constraints within the safety of fiction.
This story did remind me of a better, more ironic sitcom treatment of the same material i. In this episode, a Marylin Manson proxy fixates on the backstage catering staff at one of his concerts. He bribes them to switch roles with him, so he can be a regular joe at a sad joe job, and he loves how bleak and rough it is. That episode is worthwhile. Joy and the Law is not worthwhile and brings down the average quality of this slight collection.
Mercifully, the "parable" is short and easily forgotten. Blind Kittens garners roughly four stars. Unfortunately, Lampedusa died a few months after completing this chapter. There is only the suggestion of the heft and beauty of the novel that will never be. Though I would recommend reading The Leopard first.
The Professor and the Siren
Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
He became an only child after the death from diphtheria in of his sister Stefania. He was very close to his mother, a strong personality who influenced him a great deal, especially because his father was rather cold and detached. As a child, he studied in their grand house in Palermo with a tutor including the subjects of literature and English , with his mother who taught him French , and with a grandmother who read him the novels of Emilio Salgari. In the little theater of the house in Santa Margherita di Belice , where he spent long vacations, he first saw a performance of Hamlet , performed by a company of travelling players. His cousin was Fulco di Verdura. Beginning in , he attended the liceo classico in Rome and later in Palermo.