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The Leopard

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In the spring of 1860, Fabrizio, the charismatic Prince of Salina, still rules over thousands of acres and hundreds of people, including his own numerous family, in mingled splendour and squalor. Then comes Garibaldi's landing in Sicily and the Prince must decide whether to resist the forces of change or come to terms with them.

230 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1958

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About the author

Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

67 books328 followers
Tomasi was born in Palermo to Giulio Maria Tomasi, Prince of Lampedusa and Duke of Palma di Montechiaro, and Beatrice Mastrogiovanni Tasca Filangieri di Cutò. He became an only child after the death (from diphtheria) of his sister. He was very close to his mother, a strong personality who influenced him a great deal, especially because his father was rather cold and detached. As a child he studied in their grand house in Palermo with a tutor (including the subjects of literature and English), with his mother (who taught him French), and with a grandmother who read him the novels of Emilio Salgari. In the little theater of the house in Santa Margherita di Belice, where he spent long vacations, he first saw a performance of Shakespeare's Hamlet, performed by a company of travelling players. His cousin was Fulco di Verdura.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,787 reviews
Profile Image for Rick Riordan.
Author 259 books409k followers
November 6, 2020
Un classico, certo, e molto difficile da leggere per me, ma ne vale la pena. Mi è piaciuto l’audiolibro letto da Toni Servillo. Ha una voce molto sonora e piacevole. Non sapevo molto né della storia della Sicilia né del Risorgimento. Tuttavia, i personaggi erano molto interessanti e tragici. Il finale è stato così triste. Anche la morale è universale: non cambia niente. Un testo fondamentale nello sviluppo del romanzo italiano moderno.
Profile Image for Vit Babenco.
1,467 reviews3,636 followers
April 2, 2022
“So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.” Matthew 20:16
The Leopard is a novel about the first becoming last and the last first…
Plants were growing in thick disorder on the reddish clay; flowers sprouted in all directions, and the myrtle hedges seemed put there to prevent movement rather than guide it. At the end a statue of Flora speckled with yellow-black lichen exhibited her centuries-old charms with an air of resignation; on each side were benches holding quilted cushions, also of gray marble; and in a corner the gold of an acacia tree introduced a sudden note of gaiety. Every sod seemed to exude a yearning for beauty soon muted by languor.

Aristocracy still enjoys luxury but the process of decline has already set in and it is irrevocable.
The wealth of many centuries had been transmitted into ornament, luxury, pleasure; no more; the abolition of feudal rights had swept away duties as well as privileges; wealth, like an old wine, had let the dregs of greed, even of care and prudence, fall to the bottom of the barrel, leaving only verve and color. And thus eventually it cancelled itself out; this wealth which had achieved its object was composed now only of essential oils – and, like essential oils, it soon evaporated.

The book is full of light irony and it is written in a charming manner. The author’s observations are precise and sharp.
Similar to floods, that set afloat all the litter and trash, revolutions push up to the surface all the opportunists, timeservers and speculators who immediately hurry to leave everyone behind and become the first.
Profile Image for Jeffrey Keeten.
Author 3 books249k followers
August 9, 2018
”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 thought, from respect, but from fear.”

This book was translated as The Leopard, but the literal translation is The Ocelot. The publishers must have felt that the image of a Leopard lent itself more to their target audience than the rather smaller, and frankly cuddlier ocelot. I happen to be a bit fond of ocelots since watching the antics of the feline Bruce on the Honey West episodes.

The Ocelot, he knows he's not a leopard.

The Prince of Salina Don Fabrizio knows he is the last of his kind. His son will inherit the title, but not the sensibilities and traditions that go with it. Garibaldi has landed in Sicily in the spring of 1860 and has overthrown the monarchy in Naples. The Prince’s darling nephew, Tancredi has broken ranks to join the rebels and wants his Uncle to do the same. He is a favorite of the Prince and even though Don Fabrizio is unwilling to leave his class he does help arrange a marriage between Tancredi and Angelica whose father has benefited greatly from this rising class of successful men from the lower classes. In other words he hedges his bets.

Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa in uniform

The author Guiseppe Di Lampedusa was drafted into the Italian army during World War One. He was captured during the battle of Caporetto and held in a Hungarian POW camp. He escaped and made his way back to Italy, and eventually leaves the army with the rank of lieutenant and moves back to Palermo to the family estate. He is asked to return during world war two as well, but his responsibilities for his estates soon recall him home. His palace is bombed during the war. His Great Grandfather who built the grand palace became the basis for the Prince of Salina in his novel. Guiseppe dies at the age of 60 before his novel can be published, but not before he is turned down by several publishers.

Don Fabrizio is melancholy, even the description of his garden seems to convey the state of his life with vivid smell still retained despite the shabby grandeur.
”The garden, hemmed and almost squashed between barriers, was exhaling scents that were cloying, fleshy and slightly putrid, like the aromatic liquids distilled from the relics of certain saints; the carnations superimposed their pungence on the formal fragrance of roses and the oily emanations of magnolias drooping in corners; and somewhere beneath it all was a faint smell of mint mingling with a nursery whiff of acacia and a jammy one of myrtle; from a grove beyond the wall came an erotic waft of early orange-blossom. It was a garden for the blind: a constant offence to the eyes, a pleasure strong if somewhat crude to the nose. The Paul Neyron roses, whose cuttings he had himself bought in Paris, and degenerated; first stimulated and then enfeebled by the strong if languid pull of Sicilian earth, burnt by apocalyptic Julys, they had changed into objects like flesh-coloured cabbages, obscene and distilling a dense almost indecent scent which no French horticulturist would have dared hope for. The Prince put one under his nose and seemed to be sniffing the thigh of a dancer from the Opera. Bendico (his dog), to whom it was also proffered, drew back in disgust and hurried off in search of healthier sensations amid dead lizards and manure.”

The arrival of Angelica, the woman betrothed to his nephew Tancredi puts not only a smile on his face, but also elicits an almost nostalgic flood of desire in the forty-five year old Prince. He hugs her, but he wants to ravish her. He smells her hair, but he wants to inhale every nook of her. He tamps down all those unseemly thoughts and takes great pride in seeing his handsome nephew with such a beautiful young girl.

”She was tall and well made, on an ample scale; her skin looked as if it had the flavour of fresh cream which it resembled, her childlike mouth that of strawberries. Under a mass of raven hair, curling in gentle waves, her green eyes gleamed motionless as those of statues, and like them a little cruel. She was moving slowly, making her wide white skirt rotate around her, and emanating from her whole person the invincible calm of a woman sure of her own beauty.”

Alain Delon as Tancredi and Claudia Cardinale as Angelica

The Prince has several daughters and with the arrival of other young aristocrats all moving in concentric circles around the splendid array of Angelica and Tancredi the palace seems to take on the desires of the group. ”Even the architecture, the rococo decor itself, evoked thoughts of fleshly curves and taut erect breasts; and every opening door seemed like a curtain rustling in a bed-alcove.”

The stars are Don Fabrizio’s passion, when not daydreaming about memoirs of his own passionate conquests he turns his eyes skyward. ”The stars looked turbid and their rays scarcely penetrated the pall of sultry air. The soul of the Prince yearned out towards them, towards the intangible, the unreachable, which gives joy without being able to ask for anything in return; like many other times, he tried to imagine himself in those icy reaches, a pure intellect armed with a note-book for calculations; difficult calculations, but ones which would always work out.” He is a dreamer, but due to his responsibilities is firmly rooted to the earth incapable of escaping his duties except for a few beautiful, peaceful, stolen moments when he finds himself alone to star gaze or take a bath or read a book. I felt that tug of recognition of a soul so close to my own. He is always on the verge of asking what if, but unwilling to break the bonds of his position to indulge himself in such potentially dangerous thinking.

Poster of the movie starring Burt Lancaster as the Prince

Even though he is a relatively young man of forty-five, (I say this because he is the same age as I am.) he is often stunned at signs reminding him of his age. Most of the novel takes place over the space of a year, at the end of the novel Di Lampedusa does give us a chapter showing the Prince in his seventies, but for most of the novel I had to keep reminding myself that the Prince was much younger than he seemed. He attends this ball in which he is enduring the proceedings wrapped up in his own thoughts, but he can’t help but notice and be repelled by even more reminders of the passage of time. ”The women at the ball did not please him either. Two or three among the older ones had been his mistresses, and seeing them now, grown heavy with years and childbearing, it was an effort to imagine them as they were twenty years before, and he was annoyed at the thought of having thrown away his best years in chasing (and catching ) such slatterns.”

The novel is at times pessimistic Of course, love. Flames for a year, ashes for thirty. A languid wonderful novel full of beautiful descriptions of exquisite smells and bewitching desires. A book that had me flying through pages and then going back to reread passages dripping with evocative language. The book at times especially towards the final chapters becomes clunky and feels unfinished. While looking up some information for this review I found references that many academics agree and believe that he never polished the final chapters. Despite those flaws I was enthralled by this novel. A bit of cultural history captured in the pages of a book of a time that will never exist again nor anything even resembling it.

If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com
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Profile Image for Michael Finocchiaro.
Author 3 books5,634 followers
June 21, 2022

The summer of 2015, I got a lot of good reading done. I had been plagued with seeing The Leopard by Lampedusa in various bookstores in Italy but did not really know what it was about aside from the reunification of Italy in the late 19th C. I read Midnight in Sicily by Peter Robb and in the 4th chapter of that book, he talked about the book and I was hooked. I scoured about 4 bookstores in Sicily before finally finding a translation into French and I dove in headfirst. What an incredible read! I was blown away by the text itself – the descriptions, the limpidity of the language, the subtlety of the conversations, the disillusion of the central character Don Fabrizio, Prince of Salinas, and of course the gorgeous Angelica.

The book takes place during Garibaldi’s invasion of Sicily (he landed in Marsala in April of 1860 with 1086 men (“the Thousand”) and defeated the royalist army which had upwards of 20k troops on the island) at various locations where the Prince was staying (and later dying) near Palermo at Donnafugata. The descriptions of the meals are enough to make you quit a diet and drive straight to the closest Italian restaurant. It is sumptuous in every way. The famous ball scene in Chapter 6 reminded me of the Bal Masqué in Le Temps retrouvé or the post-bellum dances in Atlanta that Scarlett attends in Gone with the Wind. Truly an incredible read. It shows a depth of understanding of history, politics, and human nature that is melancholic but still with a glimmer of hope. The characters of Don Fabrizio, his chaplain Pere Pirrone were based directly on Lampedusa’s own great grandfather and his priest. The other characters were similarly anchored in a real person that lived through that period. We see the year 1860 pass month by month and then skip a couple of years forward.
Il Gattopardo is considered the greatest work of Italian literature in the 20th C) and of the Italian language (which translated marvelously into French).

By the way, the animal gattopardo is actually not a leopard but a serval (thanks Wikipedia!). The book is relatively short (295 pages) so I would highly recommend adding it to your reading list. It is one of the most evocative books on social differences during a period of political upheaval in the 19c complete with romance and elegant ballroom scenes ever written - up there with War and Peace and Gone with the Wind. In fact, thinking about it, GWTW and Gattopardo have a lot in common in terms of a society changing radically and observing how characters react to the new order of things. The primary difference is that Lampedusa is able to do it in about 1/5 the number of pages as Mitchell :-)

The film of the same name by Visconti was released in 1962 - barely 5 years after the book was published (posthumously sadly for Lampedusa) and is a masterpiece. The color, the decor, the casting (Burt Lancaster is spellbinding as the Prince,  Alain Delon is a perfect Tancredi and the gorgeous Claudia Cardinale is fantastic as Angelica (the couple is every bit as stupendously photogenic as Vivian Leigh and Clark Gable!) The film is three hours long, but never boring in the least. I felt that it was one of the most accurate (word for word in many of the dialogues and speeches) renditions of a book on the silver screen that I have ever seen. The secondary characters also have so much life breathed into them - Romolo Valli's Pere Pirrone is unforgettable as is Serge Reggiani's tragic Don Ciccio. The film departs from the book in that it shows a few war scenes that are extremely well shot. The locations for Donnafugata are unbelievable as is the house near Palermo. Having spent 5 summers in Sicily, I can say that the countryside and the towns were very faithfully represented here. The most famous scene in the movie is the last 30 minutes and it is one of the most sumptuous, realistic, and remarkable sets I have ever seen. The sea of moving bodies dancing, the mountains of food, the impeccable costumes, and makeup - you cannot help but ooh and ah out loud as you watch it. If you are ever in Turin, they have some clips on a huge screen in the cinema museum at the Mole Antolliana (a fantastic museum btw!).

I read the first third of the book, watched the movie up to that point, read the book up to the ball, finished the movie, and then finished the book and I was very happy to fully appreciate both. The book actually has an additional two chapters that are not in the movie. The story behind that is that when Lampedusa had first finished his book, he sent the manuscript to a few publishers. Two of the primary editors in Italy turned him down. The first one he sent it to (a draft missing two chapters he finished before sending to the other two) was not read until 18 months later and it was subsequently published in 1957 (Lampedusa had already passed away of lung cancer a few months earlier) with the six chapters that had been sent originally. It was not until 1969 that the final two chapters (and a few fascinating, insightful fragments) were published. All that to say that the final two chapters did not officially exist when Visconti did his screenplay.
Profile Image for Orsodimondo.
2,195 reviews1,818 followers
December 4, 2022

Lo stemma di famiglia dei Tomasi.

Noi fummo i Gattopardi, i Leoni; quelli che ci sostituiranno saranno gli sciacalletti, le iene; e tutti quanti Gattopardi, sciacalli e pecore continueremo a crederci il sale della terra.

Il principe è l’autore di questo magnifico romanzo, Giuseppe Tomasi duca di Palma e principe di Lampedusa.
La gustosa prefazione di Giorgio Bassani racconta come avesse conosciuto – ma forse conosciuto è troppo, incontrato è sufficiente - Tomasi di Lampedusa una sola volta, per giunta molto fortuitamente: estate 1954, convegno letterario a San Pellegrino Terme nel quale autori ormai celebri presentavano nuove leve della letteratura.
Montale introduce e sponsorizza il poeta Lucio Piccolo che è venuto accompagnato da un cugino più anziano e un servitore, quest’ultimo al contrario più giovane (e ben più robusto).
L’anziano cugino del nuovo poeta (tuttavia ormai cinquantenne) si rivelò essere proprio Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. Primo e unico incontro, solo il tempo di una superficialissima conoscenza.

Il magnifico Burt Lancaster è il don Fabrizio Corbera principe di Salina.

Stacco: quattro anni dopo Bassani accetta l’incarico di curare una collana per l’editore Feltrinelli dedicata alla letteratura italiana contemporanea (chiamata appunto “I Contemporanei”). Riceve il dattiloscritto di autore ignoto spedito da una sua amica, Elena Croce, figlia di Benedetto. Fa ricerche e scopre che l’autore è morto di rapidissima malattia l’anno prima: e soprattutto scopre che l’autore è proprio quel signore che ha conosciuto a San Pellegrino Terme nel 1954.
Va a Palermo, conosce la vedova di Tomasi di Lampedusa, la baronessa Alessandra Wolff-Stomersse che aveva sposato lo scrittore in seconde nozze, ed era all’epoca vicepresidente della SPI, la Società Psicanalitica Italiana. La baronessa informò Bassani che “Il Gattopardo” era stato scritto da suo marito pressappoco in un anno: usciva di casa la mattina presto, andava al circolo, scriveva, e rientrava a casa verso le tre del pomeriggio.

Angelica e Tancredi sono Claudia Cardinale e Alain Delon.

Tomasi di Lampedusa aveva a lungo accarezzato l’idea di scrivere un romanzo storico basato sulla figura del suo bisnonno paterno, Giulio di Lampedusa: un romanzo ambientato in Sicilia all’epoca dello sbarco di Garibaldi e dei suoi Mille a Marsala.

Nell’occasione di quell’incontro con la vedova, Bassani incamerò quattro racconti e vari saggi sulla narrativa francese dell’ottocento. Venne fuori che Tomasi di Lampedusa era uomo erudito e ottimo conoscitore della letteratura europea, che aveva letto perlopiù nelle lingue originali.
Apprezzo molto che Bassani lo paragoni a E.M. Forster più che al corregionale De Roberto.

Bassani conclude così il suo ghiotto racconto sulla nascita del romanzo che pubblicato postumo, rimasto l’unico sicuramente e completamente compiuto dall’autore, vinse lo Strega nel 1959, divenne un best seller tradotto in molte lingue:
Sono persuaso che la poesia, quando c’è – e qui non mi par dubbio che ci sia – meriti di essere considerata almeno per un momento per quello che è, per lo strano gioco di cui consiste, per il primordiale dono di illusione, di verità e di musica che vuol darci anzitutto.

Poi, nel 1963 il film del conte Luchino Visconti. E io credo che matrimonio tra la pagina e lo schermo più perfetto di questo sia raro.

La mitica scena del ballo.

Inchiodato dalla celebre frase Se vogliamo che tutto resti com’è, bisogna che tutto cambi - peraltro pronunciata da Tancredi, il prediletto nipote del principe, quando di mattina appare alle spalle del Gattopardo che si sta radendo la barba, venuto a salutarlo prima di raggiungere le forze ‘rivoluzionarie’, quelle che sventolano il tricolore – poi, negli scontri e sulle barricate perderà un occhio, e mai benda sull’occhio fu più sexy di quella indossata da Alain Delon, neppure quella di Moshe Dayan riesce a scalfirle il primato – al Principe si deve la seguente riflessione, e, dopo, tutto sarà lo stesso mentre tutto sarà cambiato - inchiodato fino al punto che gattopardesco è diventato sinonimo di machiavellico trasformismo, e quindi, facile considerarlo sinonimo di democristiano, a me pare che il romanzo parli soprattutto di come tutti e tutto finiscono, anche un antico potente e nobile casato, anche le stelle che il principe ama tanto guardare col telescopio, anche l’amatissimo cane Bendicò che si tenta di far durare più a lungo imbalsamandolo.

Paolo Stoppa è il papà di Angelica, don Calogero Sedara, il parvenu.

Le cose finiscono, si disfano, proprio come Bendicò: la figlia Concetta - quella che Tancredi non ha voluto preferendogli la “borghese” Angelica - rimasta “orfana” del padre, il principe:
suonò il campanello. “Annetta – disse – questo cane è diventato veramente troppo tarlato e polveroso. Portatelo via, buttatelo.
Mentre la carcassa viene trascinata via, gli occhi di vetro la fissarono con l’umile rimprovero delle cose che si scartano, che si vogliono annullare. Pochi minuti dopo, quel che rimaneva di Bendicò venne buttato in un angolo che l’immondezzaio visitava ogni giorno. Durante il volo giù dalla finestra la sua forma si ricompose un istante: si sarebbe potuto vedere danzare nell’aria un quadrupede dai lunghi baffi, e l’anteriore destro alzato sembrava imprecare. Poi tutto trovò pace in un mucchietto di polvere livida.

Lucilla Morlacchi è Concetta.

Questa terza rilettura, non programmata, arrivata per caso, mossa dal notare il libro fuori posto, conferma la bellezza e la grandiosità di questa “botta unica”: ritrovo intatto e confermato, se non addirittura acuito e aumentato il piacere, la profondità di pensiero, il maestoso impianto della struttura, la restituzione intatta di un luogo e di un’epoca.
Vero, aver visto almeno tre volte il film – che è capolavoro tratto da capolavoro – aiuta a visualizzare e immaginare: i luoghi, la luce, i palazzi, le camicie rosse, le tavole imbandire, gli abiti, e la perfezione del cast assemblato da Luchino Visconti. Attori tutti giusti, tutti perfetti, tutti indimenticabili.
E quando con magnifica ellisse si passa dal ballo, novembre 1862, poco più di due anni trascorsi dall’incipit segnato da rosario e camicie rosse garibaldine, temute e discusse più che viste o incontrate, quando si salta a vent’anni dopo, luglio 1883, e comincia il capitolo più breve, sia di durata che descrizione – semplicemente, la morte del Principe – impossibile non percepire l’andarsene e sparire di un padre, amato più che conosciuto, rispettato più che compreso. Ma com’è e come non è, impossibile anche trattenere le lacrime in gestazione dall’inizio del capitolo.

Tra le ultime notazioni aggiungerei che il classico narratore in terza persona è spietato nel raccontare vizi limiti e difetti, corruzione e tendenza all’inciucio, immobilismo e cupidigia: ma traspare comunque una carica empatica di notevole portata, testimoniata non foss’altro dal suo rivelarsi parte di quella gente e di quella terra (Come usa da noi).

Di spalle il regista Luchino Visconti, conte e duca e Signore, con le sue creature, Alain Delon/Tancredi e Claudia Cardinale/Angelica.
Profile Image for Ilse (away until November).
475 reviews3,128 followers
June 24, 2020
lf we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.

May 1860. Garibaldi annexes Sicily to the still young Italy. Don Fabrizio, Prince of Salina (nicknamed the leopard, after the image on his coat of arms) is a disillusioned man. He represents the old feudal order and lifestyle. Detachedly he witnesses the switch of power in Sicily, from aristocratic power and grandeur, to the new bourgeois order. As a bill of exchange on the future, he gets his nephew Tancredi to marry Angelica, the stunningly beautiful daughter of the unsophisticated, but wealthy and slick mayor of the village.

In Tomasi di Lampedusa's elegant language one can taste the scorched landscapes, the Sicilian vitality, humor and melancholy. The novel was adapted into an epic film by Luchino Visconti which is a sumptuous feast of whirling ball scenes and magnificent scenery.


Als we willen dat alles blijft zoals het is, moet alles anders worden.

Mei 1860. Garibaldi lijft Sicilië in bij het nog jonge Italië. Don Fabrizio, prins van Salina (bijgenaamd de tijgerkat, naar de afbeelding op zijn wapenschild) is een gedesillusioneerd man. Hij staat voor de oude feodale orde en levensstijl. Lijdzaam aanziet hij de wissel van de macht: van aristocratische macht en grandeur, naar nieuwe burgerlijke orde. Als wissel op de toekomst laat hij zijn neef Tancredi huwen met Angelica, de bloedmooie dochter van de boerse, maar rijke én gehaaide dorpsburgemeester.

In Tomasi di Lampedusa’s elegante taal proef je de verschroeide landschappen, de Siciliaanse vitaliteit, humor en weemoed. Verfilmd door Visconti, dus somptueuze balscènes en magnifieke decors à volonté.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews41 followers
December 5, 2021
(Book 468 from 1001 books) - ‎Il Gattopardo‬ = The Leopard, Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

Published: 1958

Most of the novel is set during the time of the Italian unification, specifically during the period when Giuseppe Garibaldi, the hero of Italian unification, swept through Sicily with his forces, known as The Thousand.

The plot focuses upon the aristocratic Salina family, which is headed by the stoic Prince Fabrizio, a consummate womanizer who foresees the upcoming downfall of his family and the nobility in Italy as a whole but finds himself unable to change the course of history. As the novel opens in May 1860, Garibaldi's Redshirts have landed on the Sicilian coast and are pressing inland to overthrow the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز شانزدهم ماه اکتبر سال2004میلادی

عنوان: یوزپلنگ؛ نویسنده: جوزپه تومازی دی لامپه دوزا، مترجم: نادیا معاونی؛ نشر تهران، ققنوس، سال1381؛ در317ص؛ شابک9643113418؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان ایتالیا - سده20م

عنوان: پلنگ؛ نویسنده: جوزپه تومازی دی لامپه دوزا، مترجم: امیرفریدون گرکانی؛ تهران، علمی فرهنگی، سال1397؛ در345ص؛ شابک9786004360906؛

این رمان یکی از بهترین رمانهای تاریخ «ایتالیا»، و یکی از مهمترین رمانهای ادبیات «ایتالیایی مدرن» نیز هست؛ «یوزپلنگ»، رمان و در عین حال، زندگینامه ای از خانواده ای اشرافی در «سیسیل»، و در آستانه جنبش وحدت ملی «ایتالیا» است؛ نویسنده خود نیز اشرافزاده ای به نام «جوزپه تومازی (سال1896میلادی تا سال1957میلادی)» و از همان خانواده ی «پرنس لامپه دوزا» هستند، شخصیت اصلی رمان، یعنی «پرنس فابریتزیو سالینا»، در واقع، تجسم زندگی جد بزرگوار نویسنده، یعنی «جولیو فابریتزیو تومازی»، یا همان «پرنس لامپه دوزا» هستند؛

داستان، شاهزاده ای «سیسیلی»، به نامِ «سلینا» است؛ شاهزاده به «یوزپلنگ» نامدار است، چون رویِ درفشِ خانوادگیِ آنها، تصویرِ یک «یوزپلنگ»، نقش بسته است؛ در «سیسیل» دیگر خبری از شکوه اشرافزادگان، به دیده نمیآید؛ «جوزپه گاریبالدی» و پیروانش، اشرافزادگانِ «سیسیلی» را، از تخت به زیر کشیده، و ثروتمندانِ تازه به دوران رسیده، و نوکیسه را به رویِ کار آورده اند؛ حتی «رانددی فلاکونیری» برادرزاده ی «یوزپلنگ» نیز، به عضویتِ گروهِ «گاریبالدی» درآمده، و با دختری به نامِ «آنجلیکا سدارا»، که از ثروتمندانِ شهر است، ازدواج، و «یوزپلنگ» مجبور میشود، تا پیوندِ زناشویی آن دو را به رسمیت بشناسد؛

نقل از متن: (نیایش روزانه، پایان گرفته بود؛ آوای متین، و ملایم پرنس، به مدت نیم ساعت، خاطره ی اسرار شکوهمند، و دردناک را، در یادها، برانگیخته بود؛ همهمه ی آواهای دیگر، آمیخته ی سرودی با گلواژه‌ هایی، همچون: عشق، بکارت، و مرگ شده بود، و به نظر می‌آمد، که تالار روکوکو، با زمزمه ی نیایش، رخساری دگر گرفته است؛ طوطیان نیز، که بال‌هایِ به‌ سانِ رنگین‌ کمانشان را، روی کاغذ دیواریِ ابریشمی، گشوده بودند، شرمگین می‌نمودند، و حتی تصویر مریم مجدلیه، در میان دو پنجره، بیش‌تر به توبه‌ کاری می‌مانست، تا بانویی مو بور، و زیبا و غرق در خیالاتی مبهم، بدانسان که، همیشه به نظر می‌آمد؛ دیگر، سکوت، همه جا را فرا گرفته بود، و همه چیز، به حالت نظم، یا بی‌نظمی معمول خود، باز می‌گشت؛ بندیکو، سگ بزرگ گریدن، از این‌که در طی مراسم نیایش، طرد شده بود، دلخور بود؛ از دری که خدمتکاران از آن، خارج شده بودند، وارد شد، و دم تکان داد؛ خانم‌ها، به آرامی، بلند می‌شدند، و دامن‌های لرزانشان را، که روی زمین کشیده شده بود، جمع می‌کردند، اندک اندک، پیکرهای برهنه ی اساطیری، که در همه جا، بر زمینه ی شیری کاشی‌ها، نقش بسته بود، آشکار می‌شد)؛ پایان نقل

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 13/12/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 13/09/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Luís.
1,947 reviews611 followers
June 1, 2023
Captivated a few years earlier by the viewing of the magnificent film "The Guepard" by Visconti (and particularly by the interpretation of Burt Lancaster, quite simply formidable as a tired old beast!), I immersed myself in all confidence in Giuseppe's novel Tomasi di Lampedusa. This fact amply justified this confidence since I was able to find everything that had so captivated me in the film adaptation:
A bittersweet end-of-the-world atmosphere.
That's a mixture of acid lucidity and nostalgia.
The characters are fascinating; puppets are conscious and consenting of forces that exceed them.
As in the book, the film exudes the same infinite sadness tempered with bursts of disillusioned humor.
The story begins in 1860 in a proud but drowsy Sicily where a terrible thunderclap will suddenly rouse it from its sleep: the invasion of Garibaldi and Piedmontese troops foreshadows Sicily's unification with the rest of Italy. This invasion will trigger essential changes for the Sicilian population, particularly for the aristocratic class, forcing them to give way little by little - then more and more quickly - of the ground in front of a bourgeoisie in full expansion and with more backbone. Flexible. Alone among his peers to guess the upheavals to come, Prince Fabrizio Salina, a brilliant aristocrat endowed with a fatalistic temperament, saddens them without trying to push them away. Aware that the Sicilian nobility's hour had struck, any struggle would only delay the deadline. A brave, proud, and sensitive man, he takes on the heavy task of witnessing the agony of the only world he has ever known.
To appreciate this beautiful novel, you don't have to be nostalgic for the old aristocracy. There is something painfully universal in the themes of "The Guepard": the mourning of a country, the loss of memory and heritage, and the agony of a particular way of living and of conceiving the world… the character of Prince Fabrizio is particularly touching in his constant tearing between two worlds, the dying aristocracy whose apathetic blindness he secretly despises and the flourishing but so repulsively prosaic and greedy one of the bourgeoisie. The secondary protagonists surrounding him are just as striking, even if they do not arouse such deep sympathy. That's the interpretation of Fabrizio's nephew, the cynical and opportunist Tancredi, and the beautiful commoner Angelica (played by Alain Delon and Claudia Cardinale, excellent in the film adaptation). The latter's love will light up with a fleeting and dazzling flame during the last days of the old prince. The whole thing gives a very touching Twilight novel that I will surely reread one of these days - preferably after reviewing the adaptation of Visconti!
Profile Image for Adina .
891 reviews3,548 followers
July 30, 2021

This is going to be a short review because, honestly, I do not have much to write. I started this while on vacation is Sicily but I spent most of my reading time with Austerlitz instead. I understand why it is a classic and all, but it failed to grab me and to make me care about any of the characters.

The Leopard is the story of the old Salina Family and in particular of Don Fabrizio, a Sicilian prince, and the decline of aristocracy. The historical setting is overthrown of the monarchy in Naples by the uprising led by Garibaldi. It treats themes such as the power battle between the rich and the poor, moral decadence, love and marriage, the usual for the times.

I found the writing dull and not engaging. I do not think it was only the Romanian translation because I also listened to the English version. There are many excellent reviews that explain why this book is excellent and I urge you to read those as well. I am only here to let you know that one can also be indifferent when it comes to this book.
Profile Image for Steven  Godin.
2,495 reviews2,380 followers
May 9, 2020
Back in 1958, Feltrinelli Editore in Milan brought out a historical novel by an obscure Palermitan aristocrat who had died only the previous year. Prince Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa's posthumous, unfinished work Il Gattopardo (The Leopard) was at once hailed a masterpiece. I wholehearted agree with that. It possesses the luxurious descriptive and analytic power not simply of one of the most beguiling 20th-century novels, but one of the modern world's definitive political fictions. Lampedusa's novel, that chronicles the struggle of the Sicilian aristocracy to survive in the face of change features one of the great irresistible creations - the Prince of Salina. A giant of a man in stature who unconsciously bends cutlery and crushes ornaments when he is in a dark mood, he is a Prince just about as seductive as they come. Against all our prejudices, we empathise with his subtle, undeceived and fatalistic attempts to preserve his family's virtually feudal power at the time of the Risorgimento, the unification of Italy, in 1860. The Leopard's proclamation that everything must change so that everything can stay the same has become an ironic historical maxim quoted again and again to describe Sicily, the nature of history, and the resourceful ways of power.

Lampedusa set his novel at the precise moment when Sicily came into direct contact with the forward movement of history, the history of nations, or progress, of democracy and social justice. His principal characters are His Excellency, Don Fabrizio, who is an excellent horseman, a tireless shot, and a fair womaniser, along with the rest of his family circle. After an opening chapter which gets us acquainted with Salina family, they remove themselves to one of the family’s semi-feudal estates, Donnafugata, where The Prince's adopted nephew, the irresistible but penniless Tancredi Falconieri, falls for Angelica, the beautiful daughter of upwardly-mobile middle-class politico Don Calogero, thereby dashing the amorous hopes of Concetta, Don Fabrizio’s daughter. All the while political disturbance is taking place in the background, which The Prince tends to just shake off. After a lavish ball is held in Palermo and attended by the Salina family, the change they couldn't foresee, slowly starts to creep in.

The Leopard has the feeling of an immortal book, that kisses full on the mouth. Its major theme – the workings of mortality – is explored with an intelligence and poignancy that I have rarely come across. The characters truly are living beings, blemished with niggling inconsistencies, just like everyone else. Lampedusa’s Sicily, a mixture of bed-bugs and dust, and chandeliers and chapels, is almost like a morbidly seductive guidebook to the island, revelling in its glamour and despair. We are at times shut away with the Prince in a cool palace as he ponders on choices that need to be made - marrying his ambitious but penniless nephew Tancredi to a nouveau riche beauty, but refusing the offer of a seat in the new national Senate - which in the long term seems pointless. In the long run, his class is doomed.

The narrative voice possesses perfect pitch, achieving omniscience without blunting the novel’s surprises, and even smuggling in glimpses of the future. Lampedusa constructs gorgeous symbols, not so subtle that you miss them if you blink, not so obvious that they clobber you. Everything simply comes together in such an irresistible way, that I am trying to find fault, somewhere, anywhere, within these pages, but it's a struggle. I am not suggesting this is the most perfectly rounded novel I have ever read, nor would it likely work it's way into my favourite ten or twenty novels, but I didn't hesitate for second in dishing out the five stars. It's a work that doesn't shy away from difficult truths. It's utterly authentic and sincere, and even though I had concerns beforehand about it's complexity, it's actually quite easy to read.

All in all - this is a literary banquet of only the finest Produce.
Profile Image for Guille.
785 reviews1,749 followers
October 2, 2019

Ya lo dijo Llosa perfectamente:
“El Gatopardo es una de esas obras literarias que aparecen de tiempo en tiempo y que, a la vez que nos deslumbran, nos confunden, porque nos enfrentan al misterio de la genialidad artística.”
Un libro que, a pesar de la profundidad de su análisis, se lee con una facilidad sorprendente, dotado de una elegancia admirable, de una fina ironía, de un humor sutil.

Fundamentalmente es un libro sobre el ocaso y la renovación de las sociedades. Una novela que representa magníficamente la eterna maldición humana de la división entre ricos y pobres, explotadores y explotados, y la catadura moral, siempre necesaria e invariable, de los que ostentan el poder.
“Si esta clase tuviera que desaparecer, aparecería enseguida otra equivalente, que si no se legitimara por la sangre, encontraría otra cosa en qué hacerlo, por ejemplo en que hace mucho que están en un mismo lugar o si no en que conocen mejor algún texto sagrado”.
Pero también un libro sobre la decadencia de los individuos, sobre la triste pérdida del brío y la pasión de la juventud, sobre la melancolía y la desaparición del mundo y de las personas que amamos, sobre la incomodidad de un presente al que ya no pertenecemos.
August 22, 2017
"Ο γατόπαρδος" του Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa είναι ενα μυθιστόρημα για την παρακμή.
Μια τέλεια υποκίνηση ενός χαμένου κόσμου. Μια διαλεκτική ανάμεσα στα ζωή και το θάνατο.
Ένα ιστορικό πολυ��στιακό αφήγημα το οποίο διαδραματίζεται στη Σικελία την εποχή της απόβασης του Γκαριμπάλντι στη Μαρσάλα.
Κεντρικό πρόσωπο ο προπάππους του συγγραφέα απο την οικογένεια του πατέρα του, ο Τζούλιο ντι Λαμπεντούζα, αστρονόμος.

Στο πρόσωπο του Πρίγκιπα Φαμπρίτσιο ντι Σαλίνα, πρωταγωνιστή της ιστορίας μας, αναγνωρίζουμε την προσωπογραφία του προπάππου του, ίσως όμως ακόμη περισσότερο τη δική του αυτοπροσωπογραφία.

Ο Γατόπαρδος ως ανάγνωσμα είναι ένα επικίνδυνο παιχνίδι ψευδαίσθησης,αλήθειας, μουσικής, ποίησης και πολλών άλλων αρχέγονων δώρων.
Μας καλεί να παθιαστούμε με τα παραμυθένια πρόσωπα πίσω απο τα οποία κρύβεται ο συγγραφέας και να γευτούμε μαζί του μπόλικη λυρική και κριτική αμφίσημη αίσθηση πασπαλισμένη με αρκετή ειρωνεία στην πλοκή, την ίντριγκα και τη μυθοπλασία.

Κύριος άξονας η παρακμή της φεουδαρχικής αριστοκρατίας, η εξέλιξη των γενεών, η ανάδειξη νέων κοινωνικών τάξεων και νέων μύθων γύρω απο την "θαυμαστή τύχη" ενοποίησης της Ιταλίας.

Ο Πρίγκιπας Φαμπρίτσιο ντι Σαλίνα είναι ένας πλούσιος φεουδάρχης, ένας σπουδαίος άνδρας που έχει κατανόησει τα πάντα γύρω απο τη ζωή.
Αντιδρά με στωικότητα και φιλανθρωπία και οδηγείται απο την τρομερή διορατικότητα του και ένα παράξενο υπαρξιακό αίσθημα.
Βλέπει πως όλα γύρω του καταρρέουν, χάνονται, καταπατούνται,αλλά δέχεται τα γεγονότα ως φυσική εξέλιξη που καθορίστηκαν απο μοιραίους εξωτερικούς παράγοντες και την τραγική κληρονομική ακινησία -κυρίως πνευματική-των Σικελών.

Έτσι, περνάει σε μια τρομακτική απομόνωση της ψυχής του και χωρίς να νοιάζεται για τίτλους τιμής και περιουσίες, επικεντρώνεται στην ακινησία, τη μνήμη, τις νοσταλγικές αισθήσεις, την αποδοχή των πάντων και το Θάνατο.

Ο Πρίγκιπας δεν ενδιαφέρεται για την πραγματικότητα, δεν θέλει να ομορφύνει την ασχήμια που αρχίζει να βασιλεύει παντού.
Κύριος στόχος του είναι να συνεχίζει να ζει μέσα σε αυτές τις άσχημες, εξαγριωμένες στιγμές του πνεύματος που μοιάζουν περισσότερο με ένα τέλος, έναν θάνατο.
Επιθυμεί και ονειρεύεται μέσα σε ενα κόσμο αισθήσεων και γεύσεων της καθημερινής ζωής.
Είναι ένας τρυφερός κατασκευαστής σκληρών πραγμάτων.
Δεν ειναι ένας απλός ηδονιστής, είναι ένας γητευτής των αισθήσεων του κόσμου.

Σύμφωνα με τον Φαμπρίτσιο ντι Σαλίνα η πολιτική ιστορία που περιγράφεται στο βιβλίο είναι μια αλλαγή. Μια μετάβαση στο τέλος της αριστοκρατίας και των ευγενών εκπροσώπων της.
Ως εκ τούτου η αγάπη του για τις αισθητικές απολαύσεις γεύσεων και μυρωδικών σε όλες τις εκφάνσεις της ζωής, είναι η επιβεβαίωση και η άρνηση της γήινης ύπαρξης.

Αφού η γήινη αγάπη βασίζεται στην ταλαιπωρία που υπομένουμε καθόλη τη διάρκεια της ζωής μας, όπως οι Σικελοί που ταλαιπωρούνται έξι μήνες απο τον καυτό ήλιο υπομένοντας και περιμένοντας μια πολυπόθητη στιγμή σκιάς, μια διαφυγή.
Η διαφυγή που επιβεβαιώνει την ύπαρξη. Μόνο μια ύπαρξη που επιβεβαιώνεται ολοκληρωτικά απο την ταλαιπωρία και τα βάσανα θα μπορέσει να απολαύσει τη συντριπτική γλυκύτητα της γαλήνης και της ανάπαυσης.

Όχι με άρνηση και οργή, αλλά με αισθησιασμό και απόλαυση. Μια σύντομη στιγμή αμαρτίας θριαμβευτική όπως η ανάπαυση σώματος και πνεύματος, όπως η έννοια της αλήθειας.

Όλη η ανθρωπότητα διέπεται απο τις αδυναμίες της. Σκοπός δεν ειναι ο θρίαμβος μα η επιβίωση.

Ο Πρίγκιπας παρακολουθεί το ξεθώριασμα και την παρακμή του κόσμου. Ξέρει πως δεν είναι η τελική πτώση της ανθρωπότητας αλλά μια κατάσταση αποσύνθεσης και εξασθένισης, μια αιώνια κίνηση μέσα στην παροδικότητα του χρόνου.

Για τον Φαμπρίτσιο ντι Σαλίνα το τέλος της αριστοκρατίας παρερμηνεύεται απο τους ανθρώπους που δεν έχουν βιώσει την έννοια της ύπαρξης και πολεμούν για τα υλικά αγαθά, το χρήμα και την κυριαρχία γης που δεν τους ανήκει και δεν θα την κατακτήσουν ποτέ.

Ο ίδιος πιστεύει στην απόλαυση της αισθησιακής ζωής και στην παράδοση σε έναν αισθησιακό θάνατο.
Μακριά απο την φθαρτή ύλη και τη γήινη φθορά, γίνεται η πνευματική υπέρβαση μέσα απο απο τα άστρα.

Η ενόραση του θανάτου μέσα απο τη ζωή των άστρων και την ύπαρξη μιας άλλης ζωής μέσα απο τον τέλειο θάνατο όπου απουσίαζει η ύλη και κυριαρχεί το πνεύμα.

Η αριστοκρατία για να παρακμάσει πρέπει πρώτα να υπάρξει. Δεν είναι λοιπόν οι άνθρωποι που την αποτελούν αλλά η επιχρυσωμένη απόχρωση της ύπαρξης, με το άρωμα και τη γεύση της αλήθειας και της ζωής.
Μιας ζωής που βρίσκεται παντού υπό τον όρο πως σε κάθε γλυκύτητα υπάρχει και η αντίστοιχη πίκρα. Η εμπειρία απο την αναχώρηση, την υποχώρηση την εξάντληση και την βασανιστική φθορά, μας οδηγεί στην απόλαυση του επιδόρπιου που σερβίρεται τελευταίο και γίνεται το κινητήριο μοτίβο της ύπαρξης.
Το επιδόρπιο της ψυχής είναι η γεύση εκείνης της αχνής μυρωδιάς της γλυκύτητας της ζωής.

****Παρόλα αυτά κάτι έμεινε κενό στη δική μου αναγνωστική αίσθηση ή κάτι με κούρασε περισσότερο απο το επιτρεπτό.

Καλή ανάγνωση.
Πολλούς ασπασμούς.
Profile Image for Valeriu Gherghel.
Author 6 books1,447 followers
July 23, 2022
# Biblioteca afectivă

Indiscutabil, o capodoperă.

Într-un hotel din Palermo, bolnav și aflat la sfîrșitul vieții (știe că trage să moară), principele Salina vrea să calculeze cît timp a trăit în sensul cel mai propriu al cuvîntului. Cît timp a trăit efectiv într-o viață de 70 de ani? Să examinăm evenimentele („firișoarele de nisip în mormanul de cenușă al indiferenței”) pe care le notează cu plus (+):

1. nopțile petrecute în observator scrutînd rotirea agonică a aștrilor, făcînd calcule, așteptînd cometele; dar poate, își spune protagonistul, aceste ore prefigurează „beatitudinile morţii”;
2. prezența liniștitoare a cîinilor;
3. „și cîţiva cai, ei însă mai distanţi, mai străini”;
4. sensul tradiţiei şi al persistenței exprimate în piatră şi în apă (vezi, totuși, expresia medievală „a scrie pe apă”, ca sugestie a zădărniciei!),
5. clipa oprită dintr-o dată în loc, „nunc stans”;
6. o plimbare matinală prin pădure, prin stratul gros de frunze uscate, o conversație cu pădurarul, vînătoarea,
7. cîteva minute de reculegere într-o mănăstire benedictină, printre mirosurile de mucegai, de zid putred, de lumînări sleite;

Și apoi: „Mai era ceva? Da, mai era ceva, dar erau deja pepite amestecate cu pămînt”:
8. zece minute de frison amoros, parfumul unui trup tînăr.

Şi de ce nu?
9. senzaţia delicată provocată de mătasea unor cravate,
10. mirosul ascuțit al pieilor tăbăcite (sic!),
11. înfăţişarea misterioasă, hieratică a unor femei zărite în depărtare.

În sfîrșit, concluzia: „În umbra care se întindea încercă să socotească cît timp trăise cu adevărat: creierul nu mai reuşea să facă un calcul simplu... A răspuns: cam trei ani cu aproximație... Dar durerile, plictiseala cît însemnaseră? Tot restul vieții...” .

Ar fi de ramarcat că principele Salina ia în considerație doar momentele fericite. Pentru el, a trăi înseamnă a fi fericit (sau măcar lipsit de dureri). Nu pune nici un preț pe suferință. Și nu trage nici o înțelepciune din ea. Are dreptate...
Profile Image for Fionnuala.
792 reviews
December 10, 2018
Any words of mine about this famous book would be superfluous, so I thought I'd just add some images to the beautiful opening paragraph...

“NUNC ET IN hora mortis nostrae. Amen.” The daily recital of the Rosary was over. For half an hour the steady voice of the Prince had recalled the Sorrowful and the Glorious Mysteries; for half an hour other voices had interwoven a lilting hum from which, now and again, would chime some unlikely word; love, virginity, death; and during that hum the whole aspect of the rococo drawing-room seemed to change; even the parrots spreading iridescent wings over the silken walls appeared abashed…

…even the Magdalen between the two windows looked a penitent and not just a handsome blonde lost in some dubious daydream as she usually was…

…Now, as the voices fell silent, everything dropped back into its usual order or disorder. Bendicò, the Great Dane, grieved at exclusion, came wagging its tail through the door by which the servants had left…

…The women rose slowly to their feet, their oscillating skirts as they withdrew baring bit by bit the naked figures from mythology painted all over the milky depths of the tiles. Only an Andromeda remained covered by the soutane of Father Pirrone, still deep in extra prayer, and it was some time before she could sight the silvery Perseus swooping down to her aid and her kiss…

…The divinities frescoed on the ceiling awoke. The troops of Tritons and Dryads, hurtling across from hill and sea amid clouds of cyclamen pink towards a transfigured Conca d’Oro and bent on glorifying the House of Salina, seemed suddenly so overwhelmed with exaltation as to discard the most elementary rules of perspective; meanwhile the major Gods and Goddesses, the Princes among Gods, thunderous Jove and frowning Mars and languid Venus, had already preceded the mob of minor deities and were amiably supporting the armorial shield of the Leopard. They knew that for the next twenty-three and a half hours they would be lords of the villa once again.…

…On the walls the monkeys went back to pulling faces at the cockatoos.


Of course I can't leave it at that - I have to add a few words after all, but really just a few!

An aspect of Giuseppe di Lampedusa's writing I really enjoyed was the way he gives life to inanimate objects, so I was on the look-out for other examples besides the ones in that extraordinary first paragraph:

But it was the arrival of two young men in love which really awoke the instincts lying dormant in the house; and these now showed themselves everywhere, like ants woken by the sun, no longer poisonous, but livelier than ever. Even the architecture, the rococo décor itself, evoked thoughts of fleshly curves and taut erect breasts; and every opening door seemed like a curtain rustling in a bed-alcove

And here's another one: The two telescopes and three lenses were lying there quietly, dazed by the sun, with black pads over the eyepieces, like well-trained animals who knew their meal was only given them at night.

Even death is endowed with sensuous life: Suddenly amid the group appeared a young woman; slim, in brown travelling dress and wide bustle, with a straw hat trimmed with a speckled veil which could not hide the sly charm of her face. She slid a little suède-gloved hand between one elbow and another of the weeping kneelers, apologised, drew closer. It was she, the creature for ever yearned for, coming to fetch him; strange that one so young should yield to him; the time for the train’s departure must be very close. When she was face to face with him she raised her veil, and there, chaste but ready for possession, she looked lovelier than she ever had when glimpsed in stellar space. The crashing of the sea subsided altogether.

Coincidently, one of my other favourite passages is also associated with death, and manages, like the previous piece, to be sensuous and serious at the same time : [the Prince] liked [Diego Ponteleone's] library and soon felt at his ease there; it did not oppose his taking possession for it was impersonal as are rooms little used; Ponteleone was not a type to waste his time in there. He began looking at a picture opposite him, a good copy of Greuze’s Death of the Just Man; the old man was expiring on his bed amid welters of clean linen, surrounded by afflicted grandsons, and by granddaughters raising arms towards the ceiling. The girls were pretty, and provoking: and the disorder of their clothes suggested sex more than sorrow; they, it was obvious at once, were the real subject of the picture. Even so Don Fabrizio was surprised for a second at Diego always having this melancholy scene before his eyes; then he reassured himself by thinking that the other probably entered that room only once or twice a year. Immediately afterwards he asked himself if his own death would be like that; probably it would, apart from the sheets being less impeccable (he knew that the sheets of those in their death agony are always dirty with spittle, ejections, medicine marks . . .) and it was to be hoped that Concetta, Carolina and his other women folk would be more decently clad. But the same, more or less. As always the thought of his own death calmed him as much as that of others disturbed him: was it perhaps because, when all was said and done, his own death would in the first place mean that of the whole world?


A final few words: there were interesting shifts in the narrative, shifts which can make a reader dizzy, thinking, where am I, what's going on here? For example, the episode where a tragic reference from the twentieth century is used to describe one of the many sensuality-laden moments in this nineteenth century story. It happens when the Prince's future niece-in-law, Angelica, sumptuous as that name from Ariosto, who had recently disturbed the peace of the Salina household, arrives in the palace after her surprising betrothal to his nephew, Tancredi:
She sloughed off her father in the entrance hall; then with a swirl of wide skirts floated lightly up the numerous steps of the inner staircase and flung herself into the arms of Don Fabrizio; on his whiskers she implanted two big kisses which were returned with genuine affection; the Prince paused perhaps just a second longer than necessary to breathe in the scent of gardenia on adolescent cheeks. After this Angelica blushed, took half a step back: “I’m so, so happy . . .” then came close again, stood on tiptoe, and murmured into his ear “Nuncle!”; a highly successful line, comparable in its perfect timing to Eisenstein’s business with the pram, and which, explicit and secret as it was, set the Prince’s simple heart aflutter and yoked him to the lovely girl for ever.

Eisenstein's 'business with the pram' is the long scene from his film The Battleship Potemkin (1925) which shows a baby's pram careening down 'numerous steps' during the Cossack massacre of civilians in Odessa.

Fortunately, there were other references that worked better for me than that one, as when the Prince and his faithful gamekeeper trudge home after a day's shooting, and the author chooses to travel back several centuries in search of a suitable reference to describe the scene: As they climbed down towards the road, it would have been difficult to tell which of the two was Don Quixote and which Sancho Panza.
Profile Image for Issa Deerbany.
374 reviews434 followers
August 9, 2018
رواية وحيدة لهذا الكاتب الذي يكتب عن تاريخ عائلته النبيلة في صقيلة.
التاريخ الذي عاد به المؤلف هو تاريخ توحيد إيطاليا وكيف أصبحت التغيرات أحدث في تعامل الناس مع بعضها البعض.

واصبح صعود الطبقة البرجوازية امر واقع وكان لابد لطبقة النبلاء من التنازل والتعامل مع هذه الطبقة الصاعدة والغنية.

الرواية مليئة بالوصف للأماكن والأشخاص والمناظر الطبيعية بأسلوب شعري جميل لا يشعرك بالملل.

هذه العائلة والتي تحمل شعار "الفهد" تحاول ان تتأقلم مع هذه التغييرات . ولا تملك الا ان تحب شخوص الروابة حتى كلب العائلة.

بحاول الكاتب ان يُبين ان الصقليين رغم الاحتلال المتواصل ومن عدة قوى سيطرت عليها الا انها لم تحدث تغييرا على طبيعة البشر في هذه الجزيرة.

كتاب رائع
Profile Image for Peter.
2,790 reviews500 followers
June 7, 2019
I read this great book many years ago but still can remember that superb atmosphere of long gone glory. Everything is in decay, a once proud aristocrat (the leopard) got old, time overtook him. Here his long life passes in review. And in the end? Well, the book has one of the greatest and most melancholic endings ever. Absolutely recommended. A modern classic!
Profile Image for Aubrey.
1,361 reviews795 followers
November 19, 2014
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 book offended me. There, I said it, long before anyone who is offended by another's offense can claim to my having wasted their time. Those who are more interested in valid discourse than polite niceties, stick around. Perhaps it'll be worth your while.

What offended me exactly? A pet peeve, to be frank, one that I can usually prepare for when the warning signs are sufficiently displayed. This, however, was not the case, and I had the misfortune of unexpectedly slogging through yet another tome authored by a heterosexual man in love with his own cock. However, this fault is usually more of an annoyance than a fatality, but only if other features of the piece redeem the lazy characterization of women and juvenile focus on sexuality that usually accompanies such a tendency. This did not happen, and indeed the persistence of this disgusting flippancy reduced every other aspect of the novel to inconsequential, no matter how worthy of admiration they would have been on their own.

It's one thing to be critical of a character, and quite another to be judgmental, especially when the last is coupled with unmitigated casual cruelty and otherwise sickening lack of empathy. If you based your insight into the female gender on this novel alone, you would be left with a picture of hysterical and empty headed poufs only worth the pleasures derived from their aesthetics and anatomy, hysterical due to their adoration of the male sexuality, empty headed because of the inescapable characteristic of being:
childish and above all feminine in mind.
There are many examples of this sort of authorial condemnation, including a passage that particularly exemplifies its origin being nothing but a sense of entitled bigotry, this being a priest dwelling on a niece whose marriage to a cousin who impregnated her is hoped to resolve a familial conflict.
And he thought of how the Lord, to bring about His justice, can even use bitches in heat.
Those who decry the translation to be at fault for this, please. The meaning is quite clear, and frankly, I prefer not having my sensibilities to this sort of composition blinded by obscene amounts of purple prose. Besides, I'd like to see a translation handle this sentence any 'better', I really would.

Outside of this issue, there is of course the dying Sicilian aristocracy embodied in a single man ever dwelling on his decadent ideals and his coming demise, something that would have been melancholic had the character managed to invoke my empathy. As it stands, I was not impressed by the prose, the historical nuances, the authorial 'reasoning' behind the need for the church to continue hoarding its mounds of wealth and the preference of the peasantry to remain horribly oppressed than to hope for change, and especially the main character's musings that came off more as spoiled hogwash than any sort of noble insight. If you want to convince me to look past all the disagreeable ideologies and enjoy everything else, works in the vein Memoirs of Hadrian and Imperial Woman are the way to go. This is not.
Profile Image for Valeriu Gherghel.
Author 6 books1,447 followers
February 1, 2022
# Biblioteca afectivă

Indiscutabil, un roman important, „primul bestseller italian”, au notat unii critici. Tot ce se poate... Din păcate, autorul nu se mai putea bucura de acest succes. M-am oprit la un singur episod.

Într-un hotel din Palermo, bolnav și aflat la sfîrșitul vieții (știe că trage să moară), principele Salina vrea să calculeze cît timp a trăit în sensul cel mai propriu al cuvîntului. Cît timp a trăit efectiv într-o viață de 70 de ani? Să examinăm evenimentele („firișoarele de nisip în mormanul de cenușă al indiferenței”) pe care le notează cu plus (+):

1. nopțile petrecute în observator scrutînd rotirea agonică a aștrilor, făcînd calcule, așteptînd cometele; dar poate, își spune protagonistul, aceste ore prefigurează „beatitudinile morţii”;
2. prezența liniștitoare a cîinilor;
3. „și cîţiva cai, ei însă mai distanţi, mai străini”;
4. sensul tradiţiei şi al persistenței exprimate în piatră şi în apă (vezi, totuși, expresia medievală „a scrie pe apă”, ca sugestie a zădărniciei!),
5. clipa oprită dintr-o dată în loc, „nunc stans”;
6. o plimbare matinală prin pădure, prin stratul gros de frunze uscate, o conversație cu pădurarul, vînătoarea,
7. cîteva minute de reculegere într-o mănăstire benedictină, printre mirosurile de mucegai, de zid putred, de lumînări sleite;

Și apoi: „Mai era ceva? Da, mai era ceva, dar erau deja pepite amestecate cu pămînt”:
8. zece minute de frison amoros, parfumul unui trup tînăr.

Şi de ce nu?
9. senzaţia delicată provocată de mătasea unor cravate,
10. mirosul ascuțit al pieilor tăbăcite (sic!),
11. înfăţişarea misterioasă, hieratică a unor femei zărite în depărtare.

În sfîrșit, concluzia: „În umbra care se întindea încercă să socotească cît timp trăise cu adevărat: creierul nu mai reuşea să facă un calcul simplu... A răspuns: cam trei ani cu aproximație... Dar durerile, plictiseala cît însemnaseră? Tot restul vieții...” .

Ar fi de ramarcat că principele Salina ia în considerație doar momentele plăcute. Pentru el, a trăi înseamnă a fi fericit (sau măcar lipsit de dureri). Nu pune nici un preț pe suferință. Și nu trage nici o înțelepciune din ea. Are dreptate...
Profile Image for Valeriu Gherghel.
Author 6 books1,447 followers
February 15, 2023
Asta e ediția pe care am avut-o în coplărie. Să las un semn și aici...

Prozatorul italian a început să lucreze la Ghepardul în 1954. În 1957, romanul despre principele Fabrizio Salina și despre decăderea unei familii a fost gata. Din păcate, Lampedusa a murit în 23 iulie 1957.

Într-un testament redactat cu două luni mai devreme, în 24 mai, autorul ceruse familiei discreție maximă: „Doresc, ba nu, VREAU, ca la moartea mea să nu se facă nici un fel de anunț, nici în ziare, nici în vreun alt mod. Funeraliile trebuie să fie cît mai simple posibil, la o oră incomodă. Nu doresc nici o floare şi nimeni care să mă conducă în afară de soția mea, de fiul meu adoptiv şi logodnica acestuia”. Nu sînt sigur că dorința i-a fost satisfăcută întru totul. Liturghia funerară (recviemul) a avut loc în Basilica del Sacro Cuore di Gesù din Roma, iar scriitorul a fost înmormîntat în cavoul familiei din Cimitero dei Cappuccini din Palermo.

În același document din 24 mai 1957, Lampedusa pomenise și de manuscrisul romanului: „Doresc să se facă tot posibilul pentru ca Ghepardul să fie publicat (manuscrisul bun este cel aflat într-un singur caiet gros scris de mîna); bineînțeles, asta nu înseamnă că trebuie să fie publicat pe cheltuiala moștenitorilor mei; aș considera-o o mare umilință".

Inițial, romanul lui Giuseppe Tomasi din Lampedusa a fost refuzat de editurile Mondadori și Einaudi. A fost tipărit, în 1958, la inițiativa lui Giorgio Bassani, care intuise valoarea cărții, de Feltrinelli. Romanul a devenit imediat un bestseller (primul bestseller italian, pretind cunoscătorii) cu peste 100.000 de exemplare vîndute. În 1959, la doi ani de la deces, autorul a primit premiul Strega.

Nu se cunoaște reacția defunctului...
Profile Image for K.D. Absolutely.
1,820 reviews
March 7, 2012
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 rainy dark evening and you have to spend your savings to pay the dead man’s family? Then insurance company declares bankruptcy?

A rich man's downfall. That’s basically what The Leopard by Giusseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa is all about. It tells about the fall of the nobles and aristocrats in Sicily during the latter part of the 19th century. The fall may not be due to a split-second incident like running over a man crossing the street. It is painful and slow and it due to transfer of political power. The novel opens at the start of Giuseppe Giribaldi’s campaign to unify Italy or Risorgimento in 1860 with his Redshirts soldiers, also known as The Thousands. The reunification resulted to the adoption of the Tricolor in their national flag.

This reminded me of Peter Esterhazy’s Celestial Harmonies which is about the fall of the House of Esterhazy, a Hungarian noble family in Hungary. Somehow I also got reminded of Russia at the crossroad in the two works of Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace and Anna Karenina. and even Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind since it is also about the Southern States being swept in the changing periods of time.

The writing is deft and glorious. I am still mesmerized by the richness of Lampedusa’s prose and the individualness of his characters. Each of his characters contribute to the plot and the sending of his message: that nothing in this world is permanent; even kings cannot be saved by their golds. However, the fall of the noble Salinas family did not stop when its prince, Don Fabrizio Corbera died in 1883. The last chapter called Relics extends the story to the prince’s three old and gray daughters that reminded me of the generation of the Buendia family that last appeared in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. Even this falling action has its own theme: that what our forefathers did have some impact or influence to who we are now: as a nation, a community, a family or even as individuals.

The title The Leopard or “Il Gattopardo” (as it was originally published in Italian) was due to the fact that leopard is the family insigna of the Salinas. There is also a scene when the prince, Don Fabricio and the newly rich Don Calogero, whose daughter Angelica will be marrying Don Fabricio’s wayward nephew Prince Tancredi Falconieri, is touring his mansion and in one of the rooms are portraits of different animals.

If you love dogs, the prince has a dog called Bendico who symbolizes the nobility of the family. He is cute and loyal to the prince. To preserve his memory, when he dies, the surviving daughters of the prince take his skin and make a rug out of it. In the later part of the book, one of them throws the rug away. Most dog characters are used as cosmetic but because of the dog’s skin in the last chapter, I’d say that Lampedusa’s use of Bendico as a symbol is just one of the best I’ve read so far.

Giribaldi’s unification did not succeed though. Just like in many transfer of power, it was just from one kind of hand to another: from the hands of the aristocrats to the hands of the middle class, many of whom got new-rich status afterwards. Some years later, the hands transferred to the communists’ hands.

We should always be thankful of what we have. Cherish the people we love. Take care of the things we currently enjoy. For as they say, some good things never last. Even ourselves, we are all just passing through.
Profile Image for Piyangie.
530 reviews494 followers
May 26, 2022
In the wake of Risorgimento (Italian Unification), the aristocratic nobility was threatened with the possible decline of their feudal power. They had to contemplate a future where their power was ripped off and passed on to the commoners who have now acquired wealth and power almost equal to them. The change is inevitable yet is it easy to face it? Could the proud nobles mix themselves with the commoners thus depriving them of their elite status or was this necessary to preserve their wealth, their power, and authority in albeit an altered way? These are the questions Lampedusa tries to address in his semi-autobiographic work - The Leopard.

Don Fabrizio, the Prince of Salina whose power and authority are threatened comprehends that if they are to survive they must move with the flow. His dictum is "everything must change so that everything must stay the same". However unwelcome and irksome the change is, it is necessary, and this the Prince understands. Yet it is not easy to suppress the years of noble pride, to reduce them to the equal status of the newly rich and powerful commoners. Don Fabriozi struggles to reconcile himself with these new realities a little consciously but more unconsciously. However, he doesn't waver from his dictum and consents his penniless nephew Tancredi, the Prince of Falconeri, to marry the daughter of a common unsophisticated wealthy man who wealds power in the new regime. Don Fabriozi's design is that his young and ambitious nephew should climb up the social and political ladder and help preserve some form of authority to the Selina family. To achieve this end, Tancredi needs money - a lot of it. Therefore this otherwise socially unthinkable and undesirable match has to be encouraged and made. But even so, though he admires the beautiful girl who would soon be his niece, he cannot help the utter loathing he feels for her commoner wealthy father. Don Fabrizio is the leopard (the official symbol of the House of Salina) - strong and powerful yet also graceful. How the proud leopard is to live equally with the "jackals and hyenas" who have usurped the leopard's power and authority is Don Fabriozi's dilemma. And his inner struggle to come to terms with this new predicament flows beautifully throughout the story. But Don Fabriozi's struggle doesn't end there. He has to fight against another more formidable change, and that is the change in himself as he slowly nears death.

Change and how to adapt to change is the key theme of the story. Don Fabrizio accommodates the change grudgingly because it is inevitable and also because it is necessary. But the young Tancredi, also of noble blood, yields more easily and voluntarily. He has no difficulty in joining hands with the revolutionaries and taking part in the revolution. The change comes more naturally to him. Lampedusa quite intelligently draws the contrast between the attitudes of the younger and older generation of the nobility.

The Leopard brings us some memorable characters. But the unique and dominating is Don Fabrizio, the sensual, the powerful, the graceful "leopard". Lampedusa's poetic writing, subtle symbology, and suitable satire narrate a heartfelt story of an end of an era. I didn't know what to expect when I began the reading. There was a lot of history behind the story that I was compelled to read up. But it was quite worth it, for the book was very rewarding.
Profile Image for Jan-Maat.
1,566 reviews1,896 followers
September 29, 2019
It was a garden for the blind: a constant offence to the eyes, a pleasure strong if somewhat crude to the nose. The Paul Neyron roses, whose cuttings he had himself bought in Paris, had degenerated; first stimulated and then enfeebled by the strong if languid pull of Sicilian earth, burnt by apocalyptic Julys, they had changed into objects like flesh coloured cabbages, obscene and distilling a dense almost indecent scent which no French horticulturist would have dared hope for. The Prince put one under his nose and seemed to be sniffing the thigh of a dancer from the Opera. Bendico, to whom it was also proffered, drew back in disgust and hurried off in search of healthier sensations amid dead lizards and manure. (p.5)

The term 'countryside' implies soil transformed by labour; but the scrub clinging to the slopes was still in the same state of scented tangle in which it had been found by the Phoenicians, Dorians and Ionians when they disembarked in Sicily, that America of antiquity. Don Fabrizio and Tumeo climbed up and down, slipped and were scratched by thorns, just as an Archedamos or Philostrates must have got tired and scratched twenty-five centuries before. (p.75)

Sicily does not change, but it changes those who settle on its soil in di Lampedusa's vision of evolution and adaptation. For people, plants, even songs there is a steady regression to the Sicilian mean. The Prince of Salina, Don Fabrizio , knows this but only has the power to observe, dominates the narrative and his family even as his power and wealth crumble away, his beloved nephew Tancredi aims to thrive among the waves of change, he tells his uncle that to keep everything the same, everything has to change and is the lesson that runs through this book. Reading the novel is a sensuous experience, I am baked by the sun, assailed by the winds and soaked by the rains as the page turns and I seek refuge from the burning light.

Chapters deal with the period just before and then after at longer intervals Garibaldi's landing in Sicily and the creation of a unified Kingdom of Italy under the King of Piedmont. At one moment in a ball the narrator flicks ahead to WWII and recalls the bomb that will destroy the ballroom in the future but at all times it is clear that for Sicily to stay the same at a basic fundamental level it must embrace change at a superficial surface level.

As a result it is very much a book about power, ambitions that are realised across generations and the relationships that fall by the wayside. The historical setting is irrelevant, di Lampedusa was illustrating what he felt was a general principle of accommodation and adaptation, what was true of the 1860s was true too of 1923 and 1945 and all the rest.

If you are convinced by the novel's sultry insistence that climate is destiny and Terroir is all, I don't know, my own climate inclines me to be sceptical, while from my terroir I am compelled by the voice of this masterpiece.
Profile Image for Barbara.
286 reviews248 followers
December 22, 2022
"I belong to an unfortunate generation, swung between the old
and the new, and I find myself ill at ease in both."

The Leopard, Prince Don Fabrizio, is an aging Sicilian aristocrat and keen observer of people and the time. Set in the 1860s and published in 1958 he grasps what Garibaldi’s invasion and the impending unification signifies. Change is coming, change that he has already experienced in his diminished wealth and holdings. There is a slow shifting of power to the young, to the visionaries, to the self-made man. Nobility will soon mean nothing. This Prince of Salina’s wistful and melancholy musings about his family and acquaintances and the character of Sicilians is deeply insightful. He is proud to be Sicilian, proud of Sicily’s beauty amid its relentless Mediterranean sun. He understands the soul of the people, the toll the many invasions have taken. His countrymen are cynical, pessimistic, obsessed with death, a death he longs for. There will be no more change. Death will be like his much beloved stars, unchanging and permanent.

Giuseppe di Lampedusa based this novel on the figure of his paternal great-grandfather. This, what many consider an Italian masterpiece, the best novel of the 20th century, was begun when Lampedusa was sixty and completed only months before his death. An introduction by his nephew relates the history of the novel’s many revisions and omissions. It was repeatedly rejected and deemed unpublishable until after his death.

Like so many classics, many themes are universal and timeless. The book’s characters are vividly portrayed. The author, through the mouthpiece of Don Fabrizio, writes with wry and subtle humor. I have wanted to read this much revered novel for years and am so glad I finally did.

"The line is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is rapidly fadin’
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin."

Bob Dylan
Profile Image for Tahani Shihab.
592 reviews872 followers
July 3, 2021

"إنني أرتكب الإثم. هذا صحيح، ولكنني أرتكبه لئلا أضطرّ إلى ارتكاب ذنوب أخرى أسوأ منه؛ لئلا أمضي في ثوراتي النفسيّة، بل لأنتزع من نفسي الشوكة الجسدية، لئلا تقودني إلى شرور أعظم. إن الله يعلم هذا”.

“إذا أردنا أن يبقى كلّ شيءٍ على حاله، فينبغي أن يتغيَّر كل شيء”.

“الحبّ. طبعًا الحبّ: نار ولهيب لسنة واحدة، ورماد لثلاثين سنة بعدها”.

“ما دام هنالك موت، فهناك رجاء”.

“أحسّ بأنه قد توصّل أخيرًا إلى حلّ اللغز: لقد علم الآن مَن الذي اغتيل في دونا فوغاتا، وفي مئات الأماكن الأخرى خلال تلك الليلة الرهيبة ذات الرياح القذرة: إنها مولودة جديدة، اسمها الأمانة؛ تلك المخلوقة نفسها التي كان يجب أن تُحاط بكل عناية، والتي كان يمكن أن تصحّح، متى اشتدّ عودها، الكثير ممّا تمّ من أعمال التخريب اللئيمة”.

“يوجد أناس يعدّون الطاعة، والتقليد، وعلى الأخصّ عدم الإيذاء لمَنْ يعدّونهم أرفه مقامًا في المجتمع، هي الشريعة العليا للحياة”.

“إن عطر المرأة أبهج ما يفوح في بيت الزوجية”.

“لقد كنّا نحن الفهود، والأسود؛ وسيخلفنا الثعالب، والضباع؛ وجميعنا: الفهود، والثعالب، والنعاج، سنظل نعتقد أننا ملح الأرض”.

“كلّما التقيتُ بقريب، التقيتُ بشوكة”.

“كيف يمكن أن يتنمّر المرء ويقسو قلبه على مَنْ لا بدله يومًا من أن يموت؟”.

جيسيبي دي لامبيدوسا
Profile Image for Hanneke.
338 reviews352 followers
February 1, 2016
A book full of the deepest melancholy and feelings of loss, poetic language and irony. I loved this book. Other people have written beautiful reviews about it, to which I have nothing to add. I refer in particular to the review of Jeffrey Keeten or the review in Dutch of Sini. Both reflect my sentiments completely.
Profile Image for Nikoleta.
694 reviews275 followers
July 25, 2021
Πολύ καλό ιστορικό βιβλίο. Αυτό που το εξυψώνει δεν είναι τόσο η ιστορία του αλλά η υπέροχη γλώσσα και η μαγευτική αφήγηση του. Με κέρδισε ολοκληρωτικά επίσης, και η διεισδυτική ματιά του συγγραφέα σε αυτές τις μικρές λεπτομέρειες -τις οποίες μας παρουσιάζει με εξαιρετικό τρόπο- που είναι λες και μας φανερώνει μικρά κομμάτια της ψυχής των ηρώων... πολύ καλό βιβλίο...
Profile Image for Alex.
1,419 reviews4,496 followers
August 1, 2019
"In order for things to stay the same," says Tancredi, "Things will have to change." Which leaves you wondering, what if you don’t want things to stay the same?

A sense of disintegration pervades Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s 1958 Italian classic The Leopard. It’s 1860 and the Sicilian aristocrat Don Fabrizio, The Leopard himself, is broke. Only his hot nephew Tancredi has the sense to do what’s necessary: marry a nouveau riche woman with a lower social class and a higher bank balance, as is the time-honored tradition. Over the next fifty years, The Leopard looks on as some of his family sink and some swim.

Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa in the flesh

The book is accused of snobbery. Its point of view is usually limited to Don Fabrizio’s, which makes it "impossible to tell how much the prince was being ironic or how much he was being mistaken," as the book itself points out. It’s based on Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s real family history, so snobbery is a complicated accusation. I didn’t really sense it, or at least not enough to turn me off, or at least not more than I sense it from Jane Austen, I mean, come on, we’re talking about Victorian times here. Penniless nobles are constantly marrying the tacky rich, everyone’s always whinging about it. This is Edith Wharton’s entire bread and butter.

Possibly the actual coat of arms...I can't find a primary source here but who cares, it's a fightin' leopard!

Top Five Dogs In Literature
5. Bendico, The Leopard ("almost the key to the novel," Lampedusa wrote, more or less kidding)
4. Buck, Call of the Wild
3. Laska, Anna Karenina
2. Karenin, The Unbearable Lightness of Being
1. Carl, Good Dog Carl

I loved it, I can tell you that. It’s quiet, basking, exquisitely written. It has a Victorian feel. There are bloody incidents that jump out because you’d forgotten that you haven’t actually been reading a Victorian novel. There are surprisingly horny moments, too: Tancredi and his fiancee find a certain hidden room with - well: "A bundle of small whips, switches of bull’s muscle, some with silver handles....the secret nucleus, the center from which all the carnal agitation within the palace radiated outward." I believe we call these Red Rooms nowadays. Snuggeries.

Here’s the actual house - the sex den is probably through that window over there

It feels elegiac. Tancredi may be scheming to keep things the same, but Don Fabrizio is ready to be over. "While there’s death there’s hope," he thinks, looking forward to it. He’s got a dark sense of humor. "A pity corpses couldn’t be hung up by the neck in the crypt and watched slowly mummifying," he thinks: "He’d look magnificent on that wall, tall and big as he was, terrifying girls by the set smile on his sandpaper face."

Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa is doing just this, of course, mummifying his own ancestors so we can see their rictus grins. He wrote it in his old age; he had barely time to hear it described as "unpublishable" before kicking off himself, leaving his descendants to find a publisher who recognized it as the masterpiece it is. He’s given us one of the great death scenes in literature, one of the best dogs, and one of the most pleasurable names to say - not Don Fabrizio, no, but his own, which I've been typing out in full just for the pleasure of it. Say it with me: Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. It’s amazing, isn’t it? What a tremendous wave of syllables. It's the name of an aristocrat. They don't make 'em like that anymore.
Profile Image for Andy Marr.
Author 3 books786 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
May 15, 2023
I give up. 30 pages in, I give up. This reminds me too much of A Gentleman in Moscow, which was similarly stuffy and boring. A classic, perhaps, but not for me.
Profile Image for MihaElla .
228 reviews359 followers
April 28, 2021

As I started reading this outstanding book, I felt I am more than an eyewitness - as reader - after a specific part of the Introductory words was stamped unto my thoughts – those being words as imprinted by the author of the novel himself in a letter sent to one of his very few, closely intimate friends, Enrico Merlo ≪ I would kindly ask you to read it carefully (*the manuscript of the novel itself) because every word has been weighed and many things have not been said clearly, but only by half. Needless to say that the "prince of Salina" is the prince of Lampedusa, Giulio Fabrizio, my great-grandfather, so everything is real, shaded in its authenticity: his stature, fondness of mathematics (*and astronomy), false violence, skepticism, wife, German mother, refusal to be a senator. The father Pirrone is also real, even the name. I think I made them both smarter than they really were. ≫
Certainly, I read the whole Preface – it was very enlightening in some key details -- but this above text was enough for me. I knew immediately I would really read it with attentive care, just because it caught me instantly as in whirlpool and drew me to that moment when the “earthquake” – in a metaphorical sense, of course (God forbid of Mount Etna!)– was shaking the land of Sicily, in the spring of 1860.
So, we have here a brilliant story depicting how a Sicily-based nobleman is embracing change – both as an abstract and pragmatic concept – that kind of change that anyway is the only constant in life. The change is coming over and he is shocked by its magnitude – it changes everything at the surface, it really sways away everything that stands for the name of Salina – as a very long historical aristocratic thread of noblemen – and eventually he understands that not even the flexible, gaily dancing Guepard (or maybe Cheetah) - that is the official emblem of his ancestors’ family - is able to keep it up against the tidings of the new era.
As I was trying to collect some of my deep impressions on this novel, I felt that the main character can be easily conveyed – for his personality, behaviour and temperament, under all these various, but different types of exotic, amazing wild cats: hunting leopard, cheetah, guepard, ocelot, etc – I anyway read a Romanian translation that titles it “Ghepard-ul” – so the closest to it seems to be the “Guepard”, in a horizontal meaning :)
The book opens with a scene in which the prince of Salina, Don Fabrizio, is reading about the Mysteries of the Passion (funnily, this time of the year it happens to be the Passion week, too) and rare words are brought out on the lips of the audience (his whole, large family) to this prayer’s reading: love, purity, death. Symbolically this is the message of the whole novel – everything that came up into life will end up into death, and the destiny of the noble house of Salina is to follow the same line of existence. Pragmatically there is a lot of apparent changes – though in truth these are harsh changes for the family of Don Fabrizio – as there is a change of political regime (some bit of fights under Garibaldi assault on Sicily, a new king with a bigger Kingdom (of Italy), some free-faked elections, etc), of social relationships, of family extension by uniting with people of a lower rank, of the rustic landscape where the peasants are living and setting their accounts in a very direct, but also cheating manner, etc
To me the book swells up in a lot of human illusions, passions, everything that brings and links together money, status, power, expectations for wealth growth to gain control more and more over the ruling society, though traditions and stability in leading life are giving way. For the sake of appearances, we are told and re-told, in all kinds of interesting episodes throughout the novel that the land (Sicily) and its people are not fundamentally affected by change, because even if it changes what is changing, the change makes things to be the same, still. There seems a bit of paradox, initially, but there is a clear truth in it, too. The new grows out of the old, but also the new is the old, in a new old presentation.
I have found very tender – though a bit flavoured in irony, sometimes even cruel cynicism – the wit-filled voice of the narrator as he dwelled over the history of the family’s decadence. I was curious to see if the main character is deployed – layer by layer – to his completely bare, naked soul. His mind is known and crystal clear voiced through the very interesting dialogues he carries with his family -- especially with his dearest nephew Tancredi, whom he loves more than his own children!, his priest, the local and central authorities, the countryside people. Eventually he accepts the unacceptable but still he wants to do it in its own way. Unfortunately, there is not much distinction in that part, because at the ultimate end he just understands what he felt so well and deeply during his whole long life: he always felt alone, and unique, and he knows too well that he is the last in his line, though the family somehow continues to lead further the name through his nephews.
Though the general tone of the book is bitter-sweet, in waves flooded by nostalgic remembrance of the past, but also a deep melancholy on the transitory periods of life greatness, for me there were so highly enjoyable a few loving, little moments when the character-given dog Bendico is letting us enjoy his ramblings as a free-spirited animal. Also, in the last chapters we are told the names of all those dogs that accompanied Don Fabrizio alongside his life: Fufi, Tom, Svelto, Bendico, Pop. Doubtless, there is a long- time happily rewarding friendship, fully compatible between a cat (ok—a large-sized cat) and a dog (ok—a medium-sized dog) :D

Profile Image for Serena.. Sery-ously?.
1,093 reviews178 followers
August 15, 2023
Un capolavoro senza tempo, un romanzo che mi fa piangere di commozione tutte le volte, che mostra l'umanità e l'uomo senza veli, con uno sguardo di compassione e comprensione che raramente si vedono in uno scrittore. Personaggi vivi e imperfetti, la storia e la Storia che si intrecciano, la voglia di conoscere Don Fabrizio e "i tempi che furono", la sensazione di essere sempre inadatta al Gattopardo.
Grazie Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, per me ogni volta è come tornare da un vecchio e caro amico ♥
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