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The Stories and Recollections of Umberto Saba
Translated by Estelle Gilson
Categories: Austrian, Hungarian, Italian
Imprint: Sheep Meadow Press
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Hardback (256 pages)
(Pub. Aug 2011)
With Stories and Recollections, the short prose works of the great Italian poet Umberto Saba, 1883-1957, make their first appearance in English. Here are the stories, memoirs, and reflections of a poet who sent much of his life in his small antiquarian bookshop. This work is largely overlooked but for friends such as Svevo, Montale, Pavese, Ungaretti and Carlo Levi, who found Saba's 'rich and complex prose of such scrupulous realism that it recalls Goethe or Thomas Mann, but it is so much more brilliant modern and nervous.'
The Stories and Recollections of Umberto Saba is a revelation: In its apparent simplicity, its moral sense, its understanding, and, most of all, its quiet beauty, it is a true companion piece to the work of his fellow Triestan Italo Svevo, who one would have though sui generis.
Estelle Gilson's distinguished translation of the Italian prose stylist won the PEN Renato Poggioli Translation Award for 1992 and the Italo Calvino Award of The Translation Cenre at Columbia UNiversity in 1991.
Praise for Umberto Saba 'Saba's poetry seems like the pure sound of a voice, a voice nearly freed from the bonds of words. The monody is pure feeling, in a musical state. The Language of Italian poetry which has almost always sought transfiguration in plasticity and relief, has rarely known an exception so singular. Saba attains the lied as if without realising it'
Eugenio Montale 'The moral physiognomy of Saba is very powerfully alive in his work, and makes him, now and forever, a great author. To this vast, complex, long-suffering personality, his poems bear witness, and from it draw their light....I have the impression that Saba, in our day, has been just discovered, and that the task of evaluating the full scope of his greatness will have to fall to others, when distance will have further clarified the perspectives. Saba will have to wait. Yet how many in Europe, can be as certain in their wait as he?'
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