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The Leopard by Guiseppe Tomasi Di Lampedusa

The Leopard (original 1958; edition 1991)

by Guiseppe Tomasi Di Lampedusa

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,2341001,175 (4.09)380
Title:The Leopard
Authors:Guiseppe Tomasi Di Lampedusa
Info:Everyman's Library (1991), Edition: Reissue, Hardcover
Collections:Your library
Tags:everyman's library, literary fiction

Work details

The Leopard by Giuseppe Di Lampedusa (1958)

  1. 70
    Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann (roby72)
  2. 40
    The Radetzky March by Joseph Roth (Rebeki)
    Rebeki: 19th-century Europe, mourning of a lost era
  3. 41
    The Charterhouse of Parma by Stendhal (P_S_Patrick)
    P_S_Patrick: These two books have a fair bit in common, though much is different between them too. They both are set in Italy and are concerned with court and family life, with politics, and the state of the country at the time they were written. The Charterhouse is set mainly in the north, around Milan, Parma, and Lake Como, near the Swiss border, in the first half of the 19th Century. The Leopard is set in the South, much of it in Sicily, starting over halfway through the 19th Century and ending in the next one. Stendhal writes dramatically about adventures and high emotions, whereas Lampedusa is far less baroque about it and writes with greater reserve and elegance. Together these books complement each other and give the reader a reasonably balanced view of Italian life over around a 100 years. Readers are likely to prefer one book over the other, but I am sure that if they enjoyed one they are very likely to enjoy the other. There are passages in the Charterhouse that outshine the best in the Leopard, but I prefer the latter due to it being nearer to perfection when taken as a whole.… (more)
  4. 41
    The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera (Eustrabirbeonne)
  5. 30
    Swann's Way by Marcel Proust (chrisharpe)
  6. 20
    The Last Leopard: A Life of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa by David Gilmour (sorbetandstuff)
    sorbetandstuff: A biography of Giuseppe di Lampedusa and his lost world that's as elegant and haunting as The Leopard itself.
  7. 20
    Bomarzo by Manuel Mujica Lainez (pacocillero)
    pacocillero: Nos dous casos son mundos en decadencia aínda que con varios séculos de diferencia.
  8. 10
    Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa: A Biography Through Images by Gioacchino Lanza Tomasi (rvdm61)
  9. 21
    Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev (JamesAbdulla)
  10. 21
    Christ Stopped at Eboli by Carlo Levi (defaults)
  11. 11
    The Viceroys by Federico De Roberto (roby72)
  12. 00
    Lanterns on the Levee: Recollections of a Planter's Son by William Alexander Percy (pitjrw)
    pitjrw: Two elegies to disappearing elites and the societies they led.
  13. 01
    Shakespeare by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa (Eustrabirbeonne)
  14. 01
    The Stone Boudoir: Travels Through the Hidden Villages of Sicily by Theresa Maggio (marieke54)
    marieke54: Among those old villages: the inhabited remnants and replacements of Santa Margherita di Belice,(< earthquake 1968), Lampedusa's village. The other villages are like what St. M. once was.
  15. 13
    The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles (Eustrabirbeonne)

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» See also 380 mentions

English (73)  Italian (6)  Dutch (6)  Spanish (4)  French (4)  Swedish (2)  Danish (1)  Hebrew (1)  Portuguese (1)  Catalan (1)  All (99)
Showing 1-5 of 73 (next | show all)
A bittersweet read. ( )
  lapiccolina | Jun 23, 2017 |
‘The Leopard’ is a masterpiece that works on many levels: the writing is absolutely gorgeous, it provides great insight into the character of the people of Sicily, and it’s an interesting snapshot of the era when the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies was invaded by Garibaldi in what would pave the way for the unification of modern Italy. Much is made of the theme of the fading glory of the Salinas family (whose coat of arms bore a leopard), similar I suppose to the fading glory of aristocratic families of the American South after the Civil War, but the novel is broader than that, and quite poignant in its description of the ultimate fate of all of us: breaking down and quickly fading from memory, ephemeral regardless of what we’ve accomplished or possessed in life. It’s also a novel that has it all, from the pangs of love to moments of great humor, and it was written by di Lampedusa at the end of his life, when he had acquired real perspective and insight into life and all its foibles. Brilliant. ( )
3 vote gbill | May 23, 2017 |
The Leopard (1958) is a classic work of Italian literature, noted in 1001 Books as having received unexpected international success. It was widely translated and made into a film starring (of all people!) Burt Lancaster in 1963. (I’ve seen this film, probably the restored version of 1980, and it’s been hard not to have Lancaster’s image interfering with my imagination as I read the book at last.) But I didn’t find any mention of The Leopard in Italian Literature, a Very Short Introduction because as 1001 Books notes, The Leopard was outside the prevailing postwar Italian neorealist narrative tradition, both stylistically and thematically.

While neorealism centred on low-class characters and unveiled the crude reality of fascist Italy, The Leopard is the saga of the aristocratic Sicilian family of the Salinas (whose coat of arms bears a leopard). (1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, Edited Peter Boxall, ABC Books, 2006 edition, p. 520)

So why should a family saga, a piece of historical fiction about the decline of an aristocratic family during the Risorgimento (the C19th unification of Italy), have the gravitas that it does?


From 1860 to 1910, a series of events affects the microcosm of the protagonist, Prince Fabrizio, and his relatives, as well as the macrocosm of the Italian nation. In Italy’s south, the Bourbon kingdom is crumbling under the impetus of Garibaldi, and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies is being joined with the rest of the country; however the end of Spanish colonisation coincides with the death of the aristocracy, which had long been supported by the feudal system and which is being supplanted by the bourgeoisie. The Leopard portrays the melancholy of that loss. (1001 Books, again)

What 1001 Books doesn’t mention, is the humour in the book.

To read the rest of my review please visit https://anzlitlovers.com/2017/01/13/the-leopard-by-giuseppe-tomasi-di-lampedusa-translated-by-archibald-colquhoun/ ( )
1 vote anzlitlovers | Jan 13, 2017 |
Un grande e potente affresco della Sicilia a cavallo tra ottocento e Novecento. ( )
  cloentrelibros | Aug 23, 2016 |
This is a dense but worthwhile read. Excellent character development.The author, wrote of his great grandfather, a Prince, during the turbulent times of 1860's Sicily.
In some parts of the book,you cannot put it down,other parts fo the book,are just slow. But,the final 2 sections of the book are worth it all.
If you like historical fiction,or Italian history,you will probably like this book. ( )
1 vote LauGal | Aug 16, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 73 (next | show all)
What makes The Leopard an immortal book is that it kisses perfection full on the mouth. Its major theme – the workings of mortality – is explored with an intelligence and poignancy rarely equalled and never, to my knowledge, surpassed.

» Add other authors (48 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lampedusa, Giuseppe Diprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tomasi di Lampedusa, Giuseppemain authorall editionsconfirmed
Aas, NilsIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Alexanderson, EvaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barreiros, José ColaçoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Birnbaum, CharlotteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Codignoto, LeonardoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Colqhoun, ArchibaldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gutiérrez, FernandoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holder, JohnIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meli, RodolfoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Norum, Anna MargretheTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Romein-Hütschler, J.C.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Romein-Hütschler, J.C.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Trevelyan, RaleighIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tuulio, TyyniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Related movies
Awards and honors
Grateful acknowledgment is made to Principessa Alessandra di Lampedusa for her help in the translation. A.C.
First words
'Nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.'
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Attribuire ad altri la propria infelicità è l'ultimo ingannevole filtro dei disperati.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Isbn 8820114313 contains only Il gattopardo; the reference to La strega e il capitano comes from an Amazon's error.
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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.

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Book description
Don Fabrizio, principe di Salina, all'arrivo dei Garibaldini, sente inevitabile il declino e la rovina della sua classe. Approva il matrimonio del nipote Tancredi, senza più risorse economiche, con la figlia, che porta con sé una ricca dote, di Calogero Sedara, un astuto borghese. Don Fabrizio rifiuta però il seggio al Senato che gli viene offerto, ormai disincantato e pessimista sulla possibile sopravvivenza di una civiltà in decadenza e propone al suo posto proprio il borghese Calogero Sedara.
The Leopard is set in Sicily in 1860, as Italian unification is coming violently into being, but it transcends the historical-novel classification. E.M. Forster called it, instead, "a novel which happens to take place in history." Lampedusa's Sicily is a land where each social gesture is freighted with nuance, threat, and nostalgia, and his skeptical protagonist, Don Fabrizio, is uniquely placed to witness all and alter absolutely nothing. Like his creator, the prince is an aristocrat and an astronomer, a man "watching the ruin of his own class and his own inheritance without ever making, still less wanting to make, any move toward saving it." Far better to take refuge in the night skies.

What renders The Leopard so beautiful, and so despairing, is Lampedusa's grasp of human frailty and his vision of Sicily's arid terrain--"comfortless and irrational, with no lines that the mind could grasp, conceived apparently in a delirious moment of creation; a sea suddenly petrified at the instant when a change of wind had flung waves into frenzy." Though the author had long had the book in mind, he didn't begin writing it until he was in his late 50s. He died at 60, soon after it was rejected as unpublishable.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375714790, Paperback)

In Sicily in 1860, as Italian unification grows inevitable, the smallest of gestures seems dense with meaning and melancholy, sensual agitation and disquiet: "Some huge irrational disaster is in the making." All around him, the prince, Don Fabrizio, witnesses the ruin of the class and inheritance that already disgust him. His favorite nephew, Tancredi, proffers the paradox, "If we want things to stay as they are, they will have to change," but Don Fabrizio would rather take refuge in skepticism or astronomy, "the sublime routine of the skies."

Giuseppe di Lampedusa, also an astronomer and a Sicilian prince, was 58 when he started to write The Leopard, though he had had it in his mind for 25 years. E. M. Forster called his work "one of the great lonely books." What renders it so beautiful and so discomfiting is its creator's grasp of human frailty and, equally, of Sicily's arid terrain--"comfortless and irrational, with no lines that the mind could grasp, conceived apparently in a delirious moment of creation; a sea suddenly petrified at the instant when a change of wind had flung waves into frenzy." The author died at the age of 60, soon after finishing The Leopard, though he did live long enough to see it rejected as unpublishable.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:43 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Italian literary classic set in Sicily in 1860. A prince watches as unification grows.

(summary from another edition)

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