Italo Svevo

Svevo, Italo (ēˈtälō zvāˈvō) [key], 1861–1928, Italian novelist, whose real name was Ettore Schmitz, b. Trieste. A businessman, he wrote several works of fiction, but remained practically unknown until discovered by James Joyce. His fiction is psychological and introspective, his characters mainly narcissistic, and his style witty. His best-known work, which has been called Italy's first modernist novel, is La coscienza di Zeno (1923, tr. The Confessions of Zeno, 1930, and Zeno's Conscience, 2001); also translated are Una Vita (1892, tr. A Life, 1963), Senilità, (1898; tr. As a Man Grows Older, 1949, rev. tr. 1977, repr. 2001; tr. Emilio's Carnival, 2001), and Una burla riuscita (1928, tr. The Hoax, 1929).

See biographies by P. N. Furbank (1966) and B. Weiss (1987); studies by B. Moloney (1974 and 1977), and L. G. Subrizi (1984).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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