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Thread: Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa The Loepard (Il gattopardo)

  1. #1
    Registered User Jackson Richardson's Avatar
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    Sep 2012
    Somewhere in the South East of England

    Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa The Loepard (Il gattopardo)

    The Leopard and Gone with the Wind both begin with a wealthy and privileged family reciting the rosary and proceeds to trace the decline of their way of life against a background of major historic change. Both books were very successfully made into major motion pictures, or as the Italians would say “un film”.

    And there the resemblance ends. The Leopard covers an extensive canvas in great detail, but in scare 200 pages, and makes Gone with the Wind look overlong, sentimental, trite and overdramatic.

    Set in Sicily, The Leopard covers the 1860s, with two chapters as epilogues, marking the end of a feudal way of life. The main protagonist is the prince himself and his consciousness is the main focus for much of the book but there is a whole wealth of characters shown vividly often in a few details. The visual aspect is strong, both in domestic details and landscape. This is no doubt why Visconti found it an excellent basis for his beautiful film but this is a good example of why a book and a film should be judged separately. It is a long film of a short book but in fact fails to use the material in three chapters. There is nothing in the film of the prince’s death and the later life of his family nor the chapter describing the visit of the family chaplain to his home village, which provides and insight into Sicilian life at a lower social level.

    It is a wonderful book. While being an elegy for a past way of life (and a criticism what replaced it) the book recognises why that way of life must change. There is a gentle and compassionate irony towards all and every page filled with gently startling detail of the physical world and people’s inner life.
    Previously JonathanB

    The more I read, the more I shall covet to read. Robert Burton The Anatomy of Melancholy Partion3, Section 1, Member 1, Subsection 1

  2. #2
    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    Apr 2012
    Reading, England
    I read it many years ago. I found it difficult to follow because it was so political. The prince was a very shrewd operator. As I understand it, partly from watching the film as well, the prince realises the political situation is changing. Garibaldi's forces are either trying to overthrow the country, or unite it revolutionise it or bring democracy to it. The prince sees the old ways cannot persist, but does not want all his estates confiscated and his family made destitute, exiled or executed. Therefore he works hard at building alliances and conciliating who he has to. The only book I have read that was quite so political was Nostromo by Joseph Conrad.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

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