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The Leopard by Giuseppe Di Lampedusa

The Leopard (original 1958; edition 2010)

by Giuseppe Di Lampedusa, Archibald Colquhoun (Translator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,698841,419 (4.11)324
Title:The Leopard
Authors:Giuseppe Di Lampedusa
Other authors:Archibald Colquhoun (Translator)
Info:Harvill Secker (2010), Edition: Limited cenetenary ed, Hardcover, 224 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Fiction, In Translation, Audiobook

Work details

The Leopard by Giuseppe Di Lampedusa (1958)

  1. 60
    Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann (roby72)
  2. 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)
  3. 30
    The Radetzky March by Joseph Roth (Rebeki)
    Rebeki: 19th-century Europe, mourning of a lost era
  4. 30
    Swann's Way by Marcel Proust (chrisharpe)
  5. 20
    Bomarzo by Manuel Mujica Lainez (pacocillero)
    pacocillero: Nos dous casos son mundos en decadencia aínda que con varios séculos de diferencia.
  6. 31
    The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera (Eustrabirbeonne)
  7. 10
    Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa: A Biography Through Images by Gioacchino Lanza Tomasi (rvdm61)
  8. 21
    Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev (JamesAbdulla)
  9. 10
    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.
  10. 21
    Christ Stopped at Eboli by Carlo Levi (defaults)
  11. 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.
  12. 11
    The viceroys by Federico De Roberto (roby72)
  13. 12
    The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles (Eustrabirbeonne)
  14. 01
    Shakespeare by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa (Eustrabirbeonne)
  15. 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.

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» See also 324 mentions

English (61)  Italian (6)  Dutch (6)  Spanish (4)  French (3)  Hebrew (1)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (84)
Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
Don Fabrizio is a Prince in Sicilian society at a time of great change, the reunification of Italy in the 1860s. Italy's class system is being eroded by the rise of the middle-class. The Prince is forced to chose between upholding the old ways and breaking with traditions to secure a future. The Prince chooses not to chance his or his family's lifestyle and does not tell his family of their worsening financial condition. As political and financial revolution sweep over society, the Prince's family sinks into bitterness and isolation. However, in their final moments, both the Prince and the Prince's daughter realize that by surrendering to change and embracing its potential, they can find true joy.
  ktoonen | Feb 6, 2015 |
A truly elegant book about the decline and fall of a noble Sicilian family, the Salinas, during the Risorgimento, primarily through the eyes of the head of the family Prince Fabrizio. The prose is lush but just saves itself from being overwrought, and the narrator is cynically observant of every human emotion and interaction. The book speaks a great deal about the history and attitudes that the Sicilians have accumulated over the past three thousand years, always being dominated, taxed, and oppressed by outsiders, from Romans and Aragonese, Angevine and Moor, and now Bourbons and then Romans again. Highly recommended for those with an interest in Italian history, but also for its beautiful and insightful writing. ( )
  belgrade18 | Dec 28, 2014 |
Superata la paura della noia e della lontananza dalla Storia risorgimentale, mi sono finalmente concesso questa vacanza, assai lunga, nel mondo morbido e sornione del Gattopardo. Ho riso spesso, ho tremato verso la fine, ho esultato nella lettura di una prosa dotta e perfetta, ho osservato compiaciuto l'intelligenza di Tomasi nel disegnare con capacità la decadenza di un mondo e delle sue persone. Alcuni dialoghi sono una gioia.
Di questo testo si ricorda la famosa frase "Tutto deve cambiare affinché non cambi niente" ma in realtà le descrizioni della sicilianità (ad esempio) sono qualcosa di irraggiungibile, cosi' come la famosa VII parte - che ho comunque trovato in tono con tutto il resto del libro.Non so se nelle scuole si leggano ancora queste cose. Spero di si', e che il Manzoni si faccia da parte e lasci spazio a Tomasi. Una vacanza da ricordare, un grandissimo libro. ( )
  bobparr | Dec 14, 2014 |
The Leopard is a historical novel about a time of transition in Italy, or really, about the time of transition in which Italy came into existence, since previously the area had been the home of several separate kingdoms. The book starts in 1860 when Garibaldi has landed in Sicily with his volunteers to ultimately conquer the area and unify Italy. Our main character is Don Fabrizio, prince of Salina in Sicily. Through him, we learn about the nature of Sicily and the Sicilian people, as well as the ramifications a united Italy will have on the class structure of the island, and by extension, the rest of the new country.

If you're looking for details of the movement that resulted in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies becoming part of the country of Italy, you'll need to look elsewhere. The novel has a short explanatory intro that gives the highlights, but the events in the novel itself are filtered through the events on the island, with Prince Fabrizio as a stand-in for both the people of Sicily and the reigning upper class. Although I was interested in the story, the structure didn't work for me. The scope is sweeping, covering some 50 years. Perhaps because of that, di Lampedusa chose to have each chapter jump ahead by a few months at a time at first, then by years (sometimes decades). So much of the action happened "offscreen," so to speak, that I felt almost completely disconnected from the characters by the middle. On the other hand, apparently di Lampedusa wrote to a friend that the dog was an extremely important character, so maybe I was simply looking in the wrong places. I did, however, get a real sense of the personality of southern Italy.

Recommended for: those interested in a more intimate view of history, people who are visiting southern Italy ( )
  ursula | Apr 27, 2014 |
My rating is a work in progress. The novel kept doing things I didn't expect (like a long monologue by a priest to a mostly sleeping audience?!). At this point I found it more interesting than likable, but I'm expecting that to change as I take some time to think about it.
1 vote rmaitzen | Feb 7, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 61 (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 (62 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lampedusa, Giuseppe Diprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alexanderson, EvaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Colqhoun, ArchibaldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meli, RodolfoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Romein-Hütschler, J.C.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tuulio, TyyniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Grateful acknowledgment is made to Principessa Alessandra di Lampedusa for her help in the translation. A.C.
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'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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:18:30 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

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

(summary from another edition)

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