Best Archibald Colquhoun books

The Nonexistent Knight and The Cloven Viscount

Italo Calvino

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Two novellas: the first, a parody of medieval knighthood told by a nun; the second, a fantasy about a nobleman bisected into his good and evil halves. “Bravura pieces. . . executed with brilliance and brio”(Chicago Tribune). Translated by Archibald Colquhoun. A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book

The Day of the Owl (New York Review Books Classics)

Leonardo Sciascia

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A man is shot dead as he runs to catch the bus in the piazza of a small Sicilian town. Captain Bellodi, the detective on the case, is new to his job and determined to prove himself. Bellodi suspects the Mafia, and his suspicions grow when he finds himself up against an apparently unbreachable wall of silence. A surprise turn puts him on the track of a series of nasty crimes. But all the while Bellodi's investigation is being carefully monitored by a host of observers, near and far. They share a single concern: to keep the truth from coming out.

This short, beautifully paced novel is a mesmerizing description of the Mafia at work.

The Leopard: A Novel

Giuseppe Di Lampedusa

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Set in the 1860s, The Leopard tells the spellbinding story of a decadent, dying Sicilian aristocracy threatened by the approaching forces of democracy and revolution. The dramatic sweep and richness of observation, the seamless intertwining of public and private worlds, and the grasp of human frailty imbue The Leopard with its particular melancholy beauty and power, and place it among the greatest historical novels of our time.

Although Giuseppe di Lampedusa had long had the book in mind, he began writing it only in his late fifties; he died at age sixty, soon after the manuscript was rejected as unpublishable. In his introduction, Gioacchino Lanza Tomasi, Lampedusa's nephew, gives us a detailed history of the initial publication and the various editions that followed. And he includes passages Lampedusa wrote for the book that were omitted by the original Italian editors.

Here, finally, is the definitive edition of this brilliant and timeless novel.

(Translated from the Italian by Archibald Colquhoun.)

The Sergeant in the Snow

Mario Rigoni Stern

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Mario Rigoni Stern was barely twenty-one and already a battle veteran at the time of the World War II disaster he describes in The Sergeant in the Snow. In July 1942 three divisions of Italian Alpini troops, specially trained for winter warfare, began retreating--entirely on foot, with no supplies, at temperatures of 30-40 degrees below zero. By the end of the march, 90,000 men were missing or dead and 45,000 frostbitten and wounded.

The Viceroys: A Novel

Federico De Roberto

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A lost literary classic, written in 1894, The Viceroys is one of the most acclaimed masterworks of Italian realism. The novel follows three generations of the aristocratic Uzeda family as it struggles to hold on to power in the face of the cataclysmic changes rocking Sicily. As Garibaldi’s triumphs move Italy toward unification, the Uzedas try every means to retain their position. De Roberto’s satirical and mordant pen depicts a cast of upper-class schemers, headed by the old matriarch, Donna Teresa, and exemplified by her arrogant and totally unscrupulous son, Consalvo, who rises to political eminence through lip service, double-dealing, and hypocrisy. The Viceroys is a vast dramatic panorama: a new world fighting to shrug off the viciousness and iniquities of the old.

The Leopard

Giuseppe [ translated from Italian by Archibald Colquhoun] Di Lampedusa

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The Leopard

Giuseppe Di Lampedusa

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Giuseppe book

I Promessi Sposi: The Betrothed

Alessandro Manzoni

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A Classic Italian Historical Novel

COMPLETE CLASSICS

I Promessi Sposi

The Betrothed

Alessandro Manzoni

The Betrothed is an Italian historical novel by Alessandro Manzoni, first published in 1827, in three volumes. It has been called the most famous and widely read novel of the Italian language.

Set in northern Italy in 1628, during the supposed oppressive years of direct Spanish rule, it is sometimes seen as a veiled attack on the Austrian Empire, which controlled the region at the time the novel was written. (The definitive version was published in 1842). It is also noted for the extraordinary description of the plague that struck Milan around 1630.

It deals with a variety of themes, from the cowardly, hypocritical nature of one prelate (Don Abbondio) and the heroic sainthood of other priests (Padre Cristoforo, Federico Borromeo), to the unwavering strength of love (the relationship between Renzo and Lucia, and their struggle to finally meet again and be married), and offers some keen insights into the meanderings of the human mind.

I promessi sposi was made into an opera of the same name by Amilcare Ponchielli in 1856 and by Errico Petrella in 1869. There have been many film versions of I promessi sposi, including I Promessi Sposi, 1908, The Betrothed 1941, The Betrothed, 1990, and Renzo and Lucia, made for television in 2004.

In May 2015, at a weekly general audience at St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis asked engaged couples to read the novel for edification before marriage.

The Siren; and Selected Writings

Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

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Although best known as author of a singular masterpiece, The Leopard, the Prince of Lampedusa left a rich and varied oeuvre that repays a careful reading. The best and most representative of it is collected in this volume. Places of My Infancy, a childhood memory of the Lampedusa palace in Palermo at the turn of the century, and of the great family mansion inland at Santa Margherita, provides a fascinating background to the princely setting of The Leopard. The text hitherto published had been edited and pruned by the author's widow, and resulted in a somewhat impoverished version. Here the author's original text - with many characters and incidents earlier suppressed - has been fully restored. The story of The Professor and the Siren, a delicious example of Lampedusa's fantasy, and The Blind Kittens (the first chapter of an unfinished novel of bourgeois Sicily that would have formed a pendant to The Leopard) both featured as appendices to Harvill's earlier edition of the great novel. They are included here together with a charming, comic, bitter-sweet story, Joy and the Law. Guiseppe di Lampedusa's knowledge of English literature, which derived from a lifetime's reading as well as from a number of extended visits to Britain as a young man, bore fruit in a series of informal seminars he gave in his later years at Palermo. The plan was to introduce his listeners to English writers from Bede to Aldous Huxley, pausing along the way not only at the great classics but also among the lesser known Restoration poets and Victorian novelists. To this, as also in his shrewd and dynamic appraisal of the French novelist Stendhal, he brought the lucid intellect and warmth of feeling that informs hisown deeply Sicilian creative genius.

Places of My Infancy (New Directions Pearls)

Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

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From the author of the classic The Leopard, an intimate look at an Italian childhood.

Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s brief but brilliant writing career lasted a mere two years before he succumbed to lung cancer. In that time he produced one novel (The Leopard), three stories, and the beginning of a memoir, Places of my Infancy – a “tour” of Lampedusa’s family estates in Sicily at the turn of 20thcentury. “For me childhood was a lost paradise,” writes Lampedusa. “I was king of the home.” Lampedusa gives lush, intimate descriptions of the estates in town and country: the home with its one hundred rooms, its garden with fountains full of eels, its church, its theater where wandering “country” theater groups would perform, the maids and the groundskeepers, and Lampedusa’s own family members. Each detail – from his mother’s silver comb to his father’s camera (owned “in 1900!”) unlocks a memory of some event from the era.