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Thread: Finished The Leopard by Giuseppe di Lampedusa

  1. #1
    Clinging to Douvres rocks Gilliatt Gurgle's Avatar
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    Finished The Leopard by Giuseppe di Lampedusa

    Not a review per se, just felt like sharing the fact that I completed The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, a historical novel set in Sicily at a time when the last vestiges of feudalism surrender to Risorgimento. Prince Don Fabrizio, the author’s great grandfather, is the central figure caught in transition, at once wanting to hold on to the past, but realistic enough to see the writing on the wall as Garibaldi arrives at Sicily’s doorstep. Chapters read as a series of poignant episodes in Fabrizio’s feudal manner of life; each step leading to further erosion and eventual demise, analogous to Italy’s path toward unification.
    It seems the stars offer the Prince his only means of escape, finding pleasure peering through his telescope, making calculations with the aid of Father Pirrone by his side.

    “At a crossroad he glimpsed to 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 and now after a ball.
    Don Fabrizio sighed. When will she decide to give me an appointment less ephemeral, far from carcasses and blood, in her own region of perennial certitude?”


    My copy is a 1960 Pantheon Books, Inc., NY copy; another one of those many books that lined the shelves of my parent’s library. As a youngster, I always admired the Lampedusa coat of arms on the cover, never imagining that it would take me another 40 or so years to actually read it!

    My review: A great novel.

    In celebration of my completion, I grabbed a bottle of Villa Pozzi,; Nero D’Avola…


    "Mongo only pawn in game of life" - Mongo

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKRma7PDW10

  2. #2
    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    I have read it, but it is quite a hard book to follow. It is very political. The central character is an aristocrat, who realises that things have to change in order not to be swept away by the mood of revolution sweeping the country.

    I watched the DVD with Burt Lancaster in the central role. He was very good, despite being dubbed.
    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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    Ecurb Ecurb's Avatar
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    I read "The Leopard" while traveling in Sicily last year. Great book. In the movie version, not only was Burt Lancaster cast in the starring role (and then dubbed into Italian), but Alain Delon played Tancredi -- and was also dubbed. It's a very good movie, though.

  4. #4
    Clinging to Douvres rocks Gilliatt Gurgle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kev67 View Post
    I have read it, but it is quite a hard book to follow. It is very political. The central character is an aristocrat, who realises that things have to change in order not to be swept away by the mood of revolution sweeping the country.

    I watched the DVD with Burt Lancaster in the central role. He was very good, despite being dubbed.
    I was struggling a bit particularly with Chapters 2-4; the Donnafugata episodes, requiring me to back peddle at times. Once I made it to chapter 5 I found the remainder of the book easier going.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ecurb View Post
    I read "The Leopard" while traveling in Sicily last year. Great book. In the movie version, not only was Burt Lancaster cast in the starring role (and then dubbed into Italian), but Alain Delon played Tancredi -- and was also dubbed. It's a very good movie, though.
    I'm envious, the closest I got was Napoli, Pompeii and of course the bottle of wine posted above.

    Okay, both you made up my mind to give the movie a try.
    Thanks
    "Mongo only pawn in game of life" - Mongo

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKRma7PDW10

  5. #5
    Registered User Prince Smiles's Avatar
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    What thinks you Gilliat, the last paragraph, Bendicó's final airborne imprecation with the right foreleg?

  6. #6
    Clinging to Douvres rocks Gilliatt Gurgle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prince Smiles View Post
    What thinks you Gilliat, the last paragraph, Bendicó's final airborne imprecation with the right foreleg?
    Hello Prince, me thinks the concluding three paragraphs, culminating with Bendico's fall to the rubbish heap, is at the top of my list of great endings to a novel.
    In fact I was this close > < to titling the thread something along the lines "My next dog will be named Bendico"
    The symbolism that Bendico embodies through the course of the story was only made clear to me at the end, wrapping everything up in a bow, so to speak. "...the glass eyes staring at her with humble reproach..." and the paw "...raised in imprecation" you referenced, makes for powerful imagery, in fact I still catch my self running that scene through my head from time to time.

    By the way Prince, how's that rotted bookshelf leg coming along?
    "Mongo only pawn in game of life" - Mongo

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKRma7PDW10

  7. #7
    Registered User Prince Smiles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilliatt Gurgle View Post
    Hello Prince, me thinks the concluding three paragraphs, culminating with Bendico's fall to the rubbish heap, is at the top of my list of great endings to a novel.
    In fact I was this close > < to titling the thread something along the lines "My next dog will be named Bendico"
    The symbolism that Bendico embodies through the course of the story was only made clear to me at the end, wrapping everything up in a bow, so to speak. "...the glass eyes staring at her with humble reproach..." and the paw "...raised in imprecation" you referenced, makes for powerful imagery, in fact I still catch my self running that scene through my head from time to time.

    By the way Prince, how's that rotted bookshelf leg coming along?
    Gilliatt,

    Dear sir, how pleased I am to hear that you are contemplating Bendico has a possible appellation for your next quadruped, and I trust that there were no sour grapes in your post-celebratory Gattopardo reading bottle of Villa Pozzi?
    Interestingly, I have often of late lamented the fact of how few dogs are named Bendico, especially around these (hind) quarters anyway. If only he knew. If only he knew. It would surely bring a tear or more to his glass eyes.

    Ah, my bookshelf! What a rotter I have been for not giving you an update. Pleased I am to report that all's swell that ends swell. That support was on it's final leg and was consequently chipped off the old block. It's all shelf-shape and Bristol fashion now. It's indubitably more a bookcase of bookworm than woodworm I can confirm.

    Your observation with regard to the floor was well grounded. While on a roll I recently went ahead and had a nice parquet positioned that would put the old Boston Garden to shame. Long gone are the days of raising rot. It's all dry courses for my horses from here on out.

    I really must thank you again for your solid foundation of suggestions on how to tackle my termite and termagant afflictions, and I remain as always, your humble servant,

    Prince Smiles of Lampedusa

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