The eminent cultural historian H. Stuart Hughes examines the works of Italo Svevo, Alberto Moravia, Carlo Levi, Primo Levi, Natalia Ginzburg, and Giorgio Bassani—six Italian prose writers of Jewish or part-Jewish origin—and gracefully shows how these writers combine in various measures their ancestral Jewish heritage with recent experiences of antisemitic persecution.
The years between 1924 and 1974 may indeed have been a silver age for the Italian Jews, but for Italian prose literature the age was golden. This distinguished book, which combines the expert skills of a seasoned historian with the understanding of a literary critic steeped in the language and literature of his subject, offers a challenging interpretation to those who already know these writers, and will serve as a masterly introduction for those whom it will inspire to make their acquaintance.
Hughes has written a provocative book… A work attentive to nuance and pleasurable to read.
[An] elegantly written volume which probes the identity of modern Italian Jews through a sensitive reading of the works of six important Italian authors. The first work to address central issues of identity and assimilation in relation to Italian Jews, it evokes their unfamiliar world while suggesting the broader significance of their grappling with Judaism and modernity. Eschewing simplistic dichotomies, Hughes makes a valuable contribution to the study of Italian literature and Jewish history.
This book should be read by anyone interested in either modern Italian literature or Italy’s Jewish community.
- 5-3/8 x 8-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
From this author
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