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Letters from London and Europe by Giuseppe Tomasi Lampedusa


Letters from London and Europe by Giuseppe Tomasi Lampedusa

The Leopard, published posthumously in 1958, was one of the most important works of fiction to appear in the Italian language in the twentieth century. Between 1925 and 1930, its author, Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, wrote a number of letters to his cousins Casimiro and Lucio Piccolo in which he describes his travels around Europe (London, Paris, Zurich, Berlin). The letters, here published for the first time, display much of Lampedusa's distinctive style present in his later work; not only the razor sharp introspection, but also a wicked sense of humor, playful in its description of the comedie humaine. United and underpinned by the genre of the novel, Lampedusa's lifetime obsession, some letters also read like excerpts from a Stendhalian travel journal, whilst others are pickwickian adventures populated with comic, exaggerated personalities.


'Letters from London and Europe usefully illuminates his Anglophilia, shows him at epistolary play, and gets a little behind his perpetual guardedness... an enterprising publication.'
Julian Barnes, The Guardian

'The correspondence of a Sicilian writer-prince charts aristocratic decay and the evolution of the modern Mafia.'
Ian Thomson, The Financial Times

'The unstated theme of these extraordinary letters is death; not just the death of an aristocracy or a redundant way of life, but more broadly of Sicily - and of Europe.'
Ian Thomson, The Financial Times

'There are pleasures on every page of these sparkling letters'
The Scotsman

'We should be grateful for the letters that, having survived and been translated into English, paint a vivid picture of the country Lampedusa would have loved to call his own.'

'This selection of [Lampedusa]'s letters ... gathers much brilliantly atmospheric writing from the future novelist, who embellishes as much as he reports.'
The Independent

'An attractive and nicely translated volume... this correspondence... is important because it illuminates the decade of Lampedusa's life about which least had been known.'
David Gilmour, TLS

'The letters of Guiseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa... showcase a love of the physical, and a keen wit and intelligence in the author of The Leopard. The Daily Telegraph '[These letters show] Lampedusa's ability to turn the most banal of events into a riveting story.'
The Daily Telegraph

'For all who have read and enjoyed The Leopard, these letters bring back the unique and unmistakable voice of Giuseppe Lampedusa... Lampedusa was certainly a most entertaining correspondent, as these sparkling letters, fortuitously preserved for us, show. It would be a treat to sit next to him at a dinner party.'
The Tablet

'An entertaining sidelight on the leisure hours of the literary duke.'
The Literary Review These witty dispatches from an indolent aristocrat abroad are a real joy

... More than half a century after his death, Lampedusa has pulled off the characteristically insouciant coup of writing a brilliant travel book by accident - The Observer

About the Author

Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, Duke of Palma and Prince of Lampedusa, was born in Palermo, Sicily in 1896. Other than three articles that appeared in an obscure Italian journal in 1926-27, Lampedusa was unpublished in his own lifetime. He began The Leopard, his only novel, in 1954, at the age of 58. When he died aged 61 in 1957, the completed manuscript for The Leopard had received only rejections from publishers.

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Book Info

Publication date

16th May 2011


Giuseppe Tomasi Lampedusa

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Alma Books Ltd


254 pages


Diaries, letters & journals



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