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The Leopard

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  8,413 ratings  ·  651 reviews
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 pl...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published November 6th 2007 by Pantheon (first published 1958)
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The Name of the Rose by Umberto EcoThe Divine Comedy by Dante AlighieriThe Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di LampedusaIf on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo CalvinoThe Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio
Notable Novels by Italian Authors
3rd out of 189 books — 127 voters
The Name of the Rose by Umberto EcoRomeo and Juliet by William ShakespeareIf on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo CalvinoThe Divine Comedy by Dante AlighieriThe Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
Italy
5th out of 527 books — 207 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jeffrey Keeten
”Among his friends Don Fabrizio was considered an “eccentric”; his interest in mathematics was taken almost as sinful perversion, and had he not been actually Prince of Salina and known as an excellent horseman, indefatigable shot and tireless womaniser, his parallaxes and telescopes might have exposed him to the risk of outlawry. Even so the did not say much to him, for his cold blue eyes, glimpsed under the heavy lids, put would-be talkers off, and he often found himself isolated, not, as he t...more
Aubrey
Let's make one thing quite clear. I do not in any way claim to be objective, nor am I interested in ever being so. On the contrary, I delight in my opinions, and more importantly taking great lengths in ameliorating and deconstructing them in what I am aiming to be a neverending endeavor. What I wish for are thoughts and ideals that I both explicate upon and hold fast to, as well as an inherent sensitivity to what a particular occasion calls for. Panderings at neutrality can take a hike.

This boo...more
K.D. Absolutely
Mar 06, 2012 K.D. Absolutely rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books, 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
Shelves: 1001-core, 501, history, europe
You have a stable job. You own your house. You drive your own car. Your daughter is studying in an exclusive school. You can buy any book you take fancy on. You can dine at any restaurant anytime. You can buy any clothes you want. In short, you have a comfortable life.

What if all these are taken away from you? Let’s say your company closes shop? What if you are stricken with cancer and you have to spend millions for your operation? What if you run over a man who is crossing the street on one ra...more
Eric
What complaints I have about The Leopard are minutely stylistic; and because "to present any writer in translation is to present him bereft of his style," as Clarence Brown, one of Mandelstam’s English avatars, reminds us, I won’t dwell on the elaborate clunkiness and awkward extensions of Lampedusa’s metaphors, especially those applied to the inner emotional states of his characters. In Italian this figurative language may be impossibly smooth. What I love in this novel is its morbid and pessim...more
J
I. Nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae. Now, and in the hour of our death. Amen.

Thus begins Lampedusa’s masterpiece, his paean to death. Sensuous, insightful, subtle, The Leopard is a work of absolute beauty.

In 1860 Don Fabrizio, Prince of Salina, is watching the lifeblood seep from his world: the power and the prestige, the unquestioned honors are all fading away, being bled out by revolution. He simply watches it go. He is resigned to it as he is resigned to his own nature. Sated ease tinged with...more
Miriam

The Leopard.
One of the four "big cats," it is a fierce predator: fast, voracious, strong enough to crush a skull with its jaws and to drag an animal almost as heavy as itself into a tree. Fearsome.
(view spoiler)
Like most felines, the leopard expends energy in massive bursts and must sleep for the most of the day to recoup its strength for the hunt. Do these long stretches of dormancy make the leopard lazy? Would it, free from the demands of hunger, wile away day after day in sl...more
Ademption
Aug 08, 2014 Ademption rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: sinister adults
The quintessence of melancholy, The Leopard, lets the reader try on the skin of the titular character: the last prince in a declining aristocracy. It reminded me of Under the Volcano . I was pushed to empathize with the last leonine lord of Sicily as intimately as I did with the alcoholic diplomat in Under the Volcano, despite never having aspirations towards being crowned or pickled. Both novels deal with cornered people doing their best while their world turns to dust. The Leopard is beautiful...more
Teresa
Unlike in many other novels of historical fiction, Tomasi makes no secret of the fact that he is writing from the vantage of hindsight. And though they were few, I enjoyed his narratorial asides, some ironic, some sobering. But what I loved more than anything else is the elegant writing; you are in a dream as the sentences flow by. Two sections stand out as especially beautiful: the young couple playing amongst the closed-off ruins of rooms in the palace and the main character facing death -- su...more
Whitaker
It is no coincidence that The Leopard is bookended by two corpses: a decomposing one at the beginning, and an embalmed one at the end. The middle is filled with the story of a third corpse whose slow decomposition and putrefaction make up the meat of the novel. Rigour mortis first sets in, as traditions rigidify the body. It gets devoured internally, its body bloating, consumed by its own bacteria—the peasants that require the pacification and gifts demanded by noblesse oblige, the expensive pom...more
Bryant
Someone from Sicily once told me that Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s "The Leopard" is the "Gone with the Wind" of southern Italy. For that very comparison, I had foolishly avoided it. Now I see that while it indeed may be a “Gone with the Wind,” it is also a “Fathers and Sons,” a “Palace Walk” (Mahfouz’ Cairo Trilogy), a “Grapes of Wrath,” and a “King Lear,” only with a more rational leading man. It is also, quite appropriately, its own glorious thing, the only novel of a once-prince who observes the d...more
Adam
An intimate but detached, almost portraiture, of history of Sicily through the eyes of one of its fading aristos (and written by one). Immersing you into the bourgeois unification of Italy without loading you with information of the era, and telling the story through character interaction and garnered details. Showing the break down of the established order through a range of events from nouveau rich wearing evening dress to casual dress party to a disemboweled corpse in a garden. Beautiful pros...more
David
Another classic I can cross off my "to read before I die" list. It's one of those books that has a definite low-key charm throughout and that ends up affecting you to an unexpected degree by the end. It tells the story of the decline of an aristocratic Sicilian family following Garibaldi's unification of Italy in 1860. The entire narrative spans half a century, but the vast majority of the action takes place in the months immediately surrounding the dissolution of the Bourbon monarchy of Sicily...more
Spiros
"If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change" is the keynote paradox propounded by Tancredi Falconeri to his uncle, Prince Fabrizio Salina, as the young impoverished noble goes to join the Garibaldini, to fight for an independent Sicily and a unified Italy. Don Fabrizio is taken aback; he after all lives his life on a Copernican paradigm, with himself at the center of the universe. Tancredi is representative of a Darwinian world, with his ability to adapt to circumstances,...more
Kelly
Hovering between 3 & 4 stars for this one. Will explain, review to come later.
Paul
A rich and luscious novel about a decaying aristocratic family in nineteenth century Sicily. The main protagonists are the Salina family and especially Don Fabrizio (the Leopard of the title) the head of the family. Most of the novel takes place in the early 1860s and there is great descriptive detail throughout capturing the heat and dust of the Sicilian countryside. Lampedusa's descriptions of scents and smells and a decaying grand house are sublime. Religion and the ritual of the Catholic chu...more
Antonomasia
Only the narrator's knowledge of future events reminds that this is, technically, historical fiction, so completely does it have a sense of its time. No pandering to modern sensibilities. The author's background and his grandfather's diaries are of course the reasons. Lampedusa's exploration of both emotions and politics (and unanticipated sense of humour) were reminiscent of British Victorian novels, with added decadent contemplation of sex and death.

Few books I can recall have transmitted so s...more
Tim Pendry
A truly magnificent novel, appropriately regarded as a classic of not merely of Italian but of modern european literature. Where to start with the praise! Perhaps with the style which is limpid and evocative, crisp and detached, and yet able to convey emotion and feeling.

But it is the content that is the core of the novel and, as so often, you have to ask not only about the ostensible period of the story but the context of the writing. This is a story written in the post-war era about the Risorg...more
James
The Leopard, 1958, (filmed in 1963), is sometimes compared to Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind. It drew on the author's family history and described the reactions of a noble family to the social and political landscape following Sicily's appropriation by Garibaldi in 1860. Lampedusa published nothing during his lifetime except for three articles that appeared in an obscure Genoese periodical in the 1920s.
"The Prince was depressed: "All this shouldn't last; but it will, always; the human 'a...more
Simona Bartolotta
"Del resto il nome di Salina basterebbe a render conto di tutto."

Questa per me è stata un po' la settimana delle sorprese. Come mi è da poco successo per La famiglia Manzoni, già dopo aver sfogliato le prime pagine de Il Gattopardo ho capito di essere davanti a un romanzo psicologico, prima ancora che a un romanzo storico, uno di quei romanzi il cui valore risiede nel percorso dei personaggi prima ancora della ricostruzione storica, per quanto inscindibili, nella fattispecie, possano essere ques...more
Serena!
**Ri-ri-ri-ri-ri-ri-rilettura annuale: La meraviglia :') ♥
QUANTO AMO QUESTO LIBRO!!!!**


Il gattopardo rientra tra i cinque classici più belli che io abbia mai letto. E, senza voler esagerare, anche tra i venti libri in generale. E, diamine, conoscendomi vuol dire che è un signor libro.
L'ho letto nel lontano 2004, in prima liceo.. Ovviamente non consenziente: mi era piaciuto, ma l'avevo trovato lento in modo esasperante.
Ecco. Credo che il fatto che sia un testo OBBLIGATORIO in molte scuole lo ro...more
arcobaleno
La storia di Benedicò...
Dopo aver sentito tanto decantare il romanzo, e averne per di più ammirato la coinvolgente trasposizione cinematografica, puoi arrivare a credere di saperne abbastanza da non aver bisogno di leggerlo. Poi te ne capita in mano una vecchia edizione (hai un debole per le prime edizioni dei classici, meglio ancora se usate, e se usate bene!) e ti rendi conto che il richiamo è quello giusto.
Scopri allora (ancora una volta) che il piacere della lettura è qualcosa d’altro, che v...more
Roberto
Nel 1860, dopo lo sbarco di Garibaldi in Sicilia, Don Fabrizio assiste malinconicamente alla fine del suo ceto. Approfittano della nuova situazione gli amministratori e i mezzadri, la nuova classe sociale in ascesa.
Don Fabrizio, appartenente ad una famiglia di antica nobiltà, viene rassicurato dal nipote Tancredi, che, pur combattendo nelle file garibaldine, cerca di far volgere gli eventi a proprio vantaggio. Quando, come tutti gli anni, il principe si reca nella residenza estiva di Donnafugat...more
Judy

The #3 bestseller in 1960 is historical fiction, translated from Italian. It was the Sicilian author's only novel and when it was published in Italy, became that country's top-selling novel ever! Today it is considered one of the most important novels in modern Italian literature, according to Wikipedia.

Sicilian nobleman Don Fabrizio Corbera's world is being forever changed. The 1860 revolutionary Garibaldi along with his Redshirts set into motion the Risorgimento, resulting in the unification o...more
Louise
In this short novel, you see how a noble family of Sicily in the 1860's lived through this time. Due to the changes ushered in by Sicily's recent overlords, the Mayor of Donnafugata, Don Calogero accumulated wealth and power to rival that of his feudal lord, Don Fabrizio, the "Leopard" of the title. The war for unification is in the background (and the foreground from time to time) which Don Fabrizio understands will mean further erosion of his position and of the noble way of life.

This is the s...more
lisa_emily
There are many very good essays and reviews written about this book, I could not possibly say anything to add, see three good links at the bottom of my “review”. I can only speak of my experience, which I suppose is why goodreads exists, to capture our fleeting reading life in hopes of sharing it with a few good allies and perhaps to be a memory jostler in the future. I find it helpful to read what little lines of thoughts of a book I have read years back, to remember and to re-think of what I f...more
Núria
‘El Gattopardo’ de Tomasi di Lampedusa podría considerarse como la versión italiana de una novela que leí hace poco, ‘La marcha de Radetzki’ de Joseph Roth, porque las dos hablan del fin del antiguo régimen y la decadencia del viejo orden aristocrático. ‘El Gattopardo’ nos presenta la reunificación de Italia a través de la mirada del Príncipe de Salina, un aristócrata siciliano que no sólo ve como su patrimonio va mermando, porque se ve obligado a ir vendiendo sus posesiones a los nuevos ricos b...more
David
"There was a land of Cavaliers and Cotton Fields called the Old South... Here in this pretty world Gallantry took its last bow... Here was the last ever to be seen of Knights and their Ladies Fair, of Master and of Slave... Look for it only in books, for it is no more than a dream remembered. A Civilization gone with the wind..."

In fact "The Leopard" is not that scary. I don't think I'd enjoy an Italian "Gone with the Wind". I know nothing of Italian unification and I'd never remember all of the...more
Sher
One of the classic works of literature that took me forever to read. I suppose I thought the work would be boring. The writing is stunning. The plot is about a Sicilian prince and his dying class. In some ways the book is less of a novel than a series of vignettes that evoke the demise of the aristocracy and the rising up of the new wealth class, which in so many ways can never compete in grandeur and elegance with the old families. The Prince is arrogant and cultured and insightful about what t...more
Pfanner
Durante toda su lectura uno tiene constantemente la sensación de que Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa estaba en estado de gracia cuando escribía el libro. Esto se suma a otra sensación igualmente persistente, y que obsesionaba tanto a Flaubert: que el autor usa la palabra exacta en cada momento, nunca otra. La escritura perfecta. Es como estar frente a un reloj abierto, frente a su maquinaria exacta de tornillos minúsculos, ejes, resortes, espirales, ruedas... Es difícil no sentirse completamente ar...more
Tony
THE LEOPARD. (1958; Eng. Trans. 1960). Giusseppe di Lampedusa. *****.
I first read this novel about forty years ago, and, frankly, found it to be too difficult for me to appreciate. The difficulty, unfortunately, was really based on my ignorance of the background of the novel. When reading a historical novel, it is to the reader’s benefit to be somewhat aware of the period in which the novel is set. The specific time period here was that of the “Risorgimento” in Italy. This was roughly around 186...more
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The Jasmine Tea S...: The Leopard 14 15 Dec 03, 2013 05:04PM  
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“If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.” 75 likes
“Love. Of course, love. Flames for a year, ashes for thirty.” 58 likes
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