The private life of the author of The Leopard

The private life of the author of The Leopard

(by Micol Graziano) (ANSA) – ROME, 07 MAY – CATERINA CARDONA, ‘AN EPISTOLAR MARRIAGE’ (SELLERIO, pp. 195, EURO 14) ‘A letter marriage’ by Caterina Cardona (1949) – journalist with long cultural – is a book on the Lampedusa spouses: Giuseppe Tomasi, author of the ‘Gattopardo’, and his wife, the baroness and well-known psychoanalyst Alessandra Wolff von Stomersee, known as Licy, who helped introduce Freud to Italy. The book reviews many of the letters that the two exchanged over time; a correspondence that draws a portrait of both Giuseppe, a Sicilian nobleman, cultured, great reader, polyglot and greedy for cremolato of strawberries and cream, and of his wife, a Baltic noblewoman who lived in a fairytale castle in the land of Latvia. The two married in 1932. The correspondence spans a period from 1932 to 1943. The Lampedusas spent long periods apart, Giuseppe in her beloved home in Palermo, she in the Latvian castle of Stomersee. Alessandra couldn’t stand the Sicilian heat. Giuseppe and Alessandra wrote to each other in French. He didn’t use words of affection except in the header or in the farewell and Alessandra was austere too. In the letters they talk about money, taxes, relatives, friends, reading, lunches and dogs, which they both adore. Giuseppe tells her about Crab, a black cocker who devours pasta and broccoli for breakfast: ‘Our little one eats beautifully and is fat and big’. Meat is bought at Crab’ on Saturdays which he devours until Monday. Every now and then he has some little fish.’ In ‘An Epistolary Marriage’ we also learn of a letter that Tomasi di Lampedusa addressed to his best friend Guido. In the epistle the writer explains the reasons that led to the birth of the ‘Gattopardo’. Tomasi di Lampedusa begins writing the novel almost as a challenge, when he realizes that his three cousins ​​are busy, and successfully, in the artistic field. One of these relatives is the poet Lucio Piccolo, appreciated by Montale. Tomasi di Lampedusa candidly reveals: ‘Although I love these cousins ​​very much, I must confess that I felt stung to the quick: I had the mathematical certainty that I was no more stupid than them. So I sat down at a table and wrote a novel: or rather three long stories connected to each other’. ‘An epistolary marriage’ had already been published by Sellerio in 1987 and is now re-proposed in a new, enlarged edition, in the ‘La memoria’ series. (HANDLE). REPRODUCTION RESERVED © Copyright ANSA

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