ONLINE CLASS: The Other Italy: Levi's Christ Stopped at Eboli and Lampedusa's The Leopard (2426)

Four Wednesdays meeting bi-weekly: March 6, 20, and April 3, 17 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. EST Online

Price: 
$140.00 Per Person (10% off for members)

Lecture and Discussion. This live class will be recorded and available for later viewing.

Although Italian unification – the “Risorgimento” -- was achieved in 1861, the north and south continue to be divided along cultural, economic, and political lines. Many still say, somewhat simplistically, that there are “Italies”: the prosperous, industrial north, and the poor, agrarian south, known, in Italian, as “il Mezzogiorno.”

Nowhere is the Southern dilemma more eloquently expressed than in two great books, published in the aftermath of the Second World War, that became immediate international best-sellers, and continue to be widely-read today.

The first, Christ Stopped at Eboli, is Carlo Levi’s memoir of the year he spent in the village of Gagliano (a fictional name) in the region known today as Basilicata. From 1935 to 1936, Levi, a northerner, was sent into internal exile (known as “confino”) because of his anti-Fascist activities. There he was shocked by the poverty, disease, and neglect that he found, among people forgotten by all, even, as the title says, by Christ. A searing denunciation of modern society but also a deeply-moving portrait of humanity, Christ Stopped at Eboli pays witness, in the author’s words, to the “infinite, poetic contemporaneity of all time and every destiny.”

The Leopard, by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, takes us instead to the upper echelons of Sicilian society in the 1860s. The last of the great historical novels, The Leopard tells the story of the aristocratic Salina family adapting to the Risorgimento as their world is absorbed into the “Kingdom of Italy,” headed by the Piedmontese ruler Victor Emanuel II of Piedmont. What will get them through, in the words of Tancredi, future leader of the family, is a motif that Italians continue to repeat today: "If we want everything to stay as it is, everything has to change." According to novelist Ann Patchett, the ending of The Leopard, “is so beautiful, so perfect, that when I finished, I started the book again.”

The instructor will guide the readers through the historical background to these two works, and occasionally draw attention to how accurately the translations capture the Italian original.

We will also briefly discuss the glorious film adaptations that have been made of both books by Italian cinematic masters.

Reading assignments: 

March 6 - Christ stopped at Eboli, chapters 1-14 (pp. 3-145 in 2006 FSG paperback edition

March 20 - Christ stopped at Eboli, chapters 15-25 (pp. 145-268)

April 3 - The Leopard, chapters 1-3 (pp. 5-132 in 2007 Pantheon paperback edition)

April 17 - The Leopard, chapters 4-8 (pp.133-279)

Recommended background reading: books or articles about the Italian Risorgimento. The Pursuit of Italy: A History of a Land, its Regions, and their Peoples, by David Gilmour (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011) provides a good summary of various aspects -- political, military, social and cultural -- of Italian unification in Chapters 6-9; Chapter 7 focuses solely on the Risorgimento years. For the historical background of Carlo Levi's memoir, see Chapter 11, "Fascist Italy."

Four Wednesdays meeting bi-weekly: March 6, 20, and April 3, 17 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. EST Online

Required Books:

Christ Stopped at Eboli: The Story of a Year, by Carlo Levi. Translated by Frances Frenaye. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006 (English translation first published in 1947; the Italian original in 1945). (9781250623089)

The Leopard, by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. Translated by Archibald Colquhoun. New York: Pantheon, 1991 (English translation first published in 1960; the Italian original in 1958). (9780375714795)

Film adaptations (recommended but not required)

Christ Stopped at Eboli. Directed by Francesco Rosi, 1979. Four-part version made for television (the shorter theatrical release cut significant footage.)

The Leopard, Directed by Luchino Visconti, 1963. 3 hours and five minutes (the complete version. Avoid the shorter, dubbed version initially released in the United States).

The Pursuit of Italy: A History of a Land, its Regions, and their Peoples, by David Gilmour (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011)

Michael F. Moore is the award-winning translator of the classic 19th-century Italian novel, The Betrothed, by Alessandro Manzoni. A scholar of Italian language and literature, his translations range across genres, including, most recently: The Drowned and the Saved, by Primo Levi; Agostino, by Alberto Moravia; and Quiet Chaos, by Sandro Veronesi. He has just finished translating the 2022 Strega Prize winning novel, Spatriati, by Mario Desiati, and the memoir The Lives of Those Who Remain, by Matteo B. Bianchi, both due out later this year. He teaches literary translation in the MFA program of the School of the Arts of Columbia University.

REFUND POLICY: Please note that we can issue class refunds up until seven (7) days before the first class session.

$140.00
SKU: 9787000012776
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The Leopard: A Novel By Giuseppe Di Lampedusa Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780375714795
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Pantheon - November 6th, 2007

Christ Stopped at Eboli: The Story of a Year By Carlo Levi, Frances Frenaye (Translated by), Mark Rotella (Introduction by) Cover Image
By Carlo Levi, Frances Frenaye (Translated by), Mark Rotella (Introduction by)
$19.00
ISBN: 9781250623089
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Picador - July 21st, 2020

The Pursuit of Italy: A History of a Land, Its Regions, and Their Peoples By David Gilmour Cover Image
$22.00
ISBN: 9780374533601
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - November 13th, 2012