Svevo, Italo

(pseud. Ettore Schmitz, 1861–1928)
   Born in Trieste, Italo Svevo was a neglected genius who, by bitter irony, was killed in a road accident just as he was winning European-wide fame for his dense, intellectually challenging novels. Svevo worked in obscurity for most of his career. Financial problems forced him to skip a university education and to work as a bank clerk from 1880 until 1899 (when he became a partner in his father-in-law’s business). He was accordingly self-educated, reading widely in German idealist philosophy and the French realists.
   Svevo’s first novel, Una Vita (A Life), was published in 1892 to general critical indifference. His second novel, Senilita (Senility, 1898), met the same fate. Yet both novels were remarkable and meticulously observed portrayals of ordinary middle-class individuals unable to escape their own deficiencies and the circumstances of their lives. After the critical disappointment of Senilita, Svevo was silent for over 20 years. In 1905, he met James Joyce, who was living in Trieste at that time. He became a close friend of the great Irish writer, and in 1925, after Joyce had achieved international renown, he was able to bring Svevo’s masterpiece, La coscienza di Zeno (The Conscience of Zeno, 1923), to the attention of the leading literary critics of the day. After years of anonymity, Svevo was suddenly recognized as one of the most insightful contemporary novelists. La coscienza di Zeno merited this extraordinary acclaim. The novel is the diary of Zeno Cosini, a middle-aged man who has been encour aged by his analyst to write down his memoirs as a way of curing himself of nicotine addiction. As the tale unfolds, it becomes obvious that Zeno’s compulsive smoking is only a symptom of a deeper malaise, a manifestation of his profound alienation from the structures of modern life. Like Joyce and Marcel Proust, Svevo concentrates on the depiction of his central character’s inner life, not, as in 19th-century fiction, upon the external events that constitute the story. Svevo’s novel is today recognized as one of the classics of literary modernism and one of the most successful literary representations of Freudian theories of the unconscious.
   See also Literature.

Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. . 2007.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • SVEVO, ITALO — (pen name of Ettore Schmitz; 1861–1928), Italian novelist. Svevo s mother was an Italian, his father an Austrian. He was educated in Germany, and on returning to his native Trieste worked as a bank clerk. From 1889 he was a partner in an… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Svevo, Italo — orig. Ettore Schmitz born Dec. 19, 1861, Trieste, Austrian Empire died Sept. 13, 1928, Motta di Livenza, Italy Italian writer. Though family financial difficulties forced him to leave school and become a bank clerk, he read on his own and began… …   Universalium

  • Svevo, Italo — ► (1861 1928) Seudónimo de Ettore Schmitz, novelista italiano. Autor de La conciencia de Zeno. * * * orig. Ettore Schmitz (19 dic. 1861, Trieste, Imperio austríaco–13 sep. 1928, Motta di Livenza, Italia). Escritor italiano. A pesar de que… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Svevo, Italo — pseud. di Ettore Schmitz (Trieste 1861 Motta di Livenza, Treviso 1928) scrittore, caposcuola del romanzo coscienza …   Dizionario biografico elementare del Novecento letterario italiano

  • Svevo, Italo — pseud. di Schmitz, Aron Hector …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

  • Svevo, Italo (Schmitz, Ettore) — (1861 1928)    Italian writer. Born in Trieste, he was a bank clerk and manager of his father in law s paint factory. He converted to Catholicism. He used the pseudonym Italo Svevo for his first novel, Una vita …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Svevo, Italo (Ettore Schmitz) — (1861–1928)    Italian novelist. A businessman in Trieste, Schmitz wrote under the pen name of Svevo. James Joyce, who spent some years in Trieste, discovered him and their correspondence over some years was published in France and England. After …   Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament

  • Svevo — Svevo, Italo …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Italo Svevo — vers 1900 Nom de naissance Ettore Schmitz Autres noms Italo Svevo Activités écrivain Naissance …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Svevo — Italo Svevo (eigentlich: Hector Aron Schmitz, genannt Ettore Schmitz; * 19. Dezember 1861 in Triest; † 13. September 1928 in Motta di Livenza bei Treviso) war ein italienischer Schriftsteller. Svevo gilt als führender italienischer Romanautor des …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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