Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

Sicilian writer and prince (1896-1957)

Giuseppe Tomasi, Duke of Palma di Montechiaro and Prince of Lampedusa (December 23, 1896July 23, 1957) was an Italian novelist, short-story writer and critic. He is best known for his posthumously published novel Il Gattopardo (The Leopard), which was filmed by Luchino Visconti in 1963.

Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

Quotes edit

Il Gattopardo (1958) edit

English translations and page-numbers are from Archibald Colquhoun (trans.), The Leopard (London: Fontana, 1963).

  • Se vogliamo che tutto rimanga come è, bisogna che tutto cambi.
    • If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.
    • Page 29
  • Un palazzo del quale si conoscessero tutte le stanze non era degno di essere abitato.
    • A house of which one knew every room wasn't worth living in.
    • Page 128
  • Un contadino che mi dà il suo pezzo di pecorino mi fa un regalo più grande di Giulio Làscari quando m’invita a pranzo. Il guaio è che il pecorino mi dà la nausea; e così non resta che la gratitudine che non si vede e il naso arricciato dal disgusto che si vede fin troppo.
    • When a peasant gives me his bit of cheese he's making me a bigger present than the Prince of Làscari when he invites me to dinner. That's obvious. The difficulty is that the cheese is nauseating. So all that remains is the heart's gratitude which can't be seen and the nose wrinkled in disgust which can be seen only too well.
    • Page 144
  • Che cosa se ne farebbe il Senato di me, di un legislatore inesperto cui manca la facoltà d'ingannare sé stesso, questo requisito essenziale per chi voglia guidare gli altri?
    • What would the Senate do with me, an inexperienced legislator who lacks the faculty of self-deception, essential requisite for anyone wanting to guide others.
    • Page 148
  • 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.
    • We were the Leopards, the Lions; those who'll take our place will be little jackals, hyenas; and the whole lot of us, Leopards, jackals, and sheep, we'll all go on thinking ourselves the salt of the earth.
    • Page 152
  • I giovani sentono i dolori più acerbamente dei vecchi: per questi l'uscita di sicurezza è più vicina.
    • The young feel sorrows much more sharply that the old; the latter are nearer the safety exit.
    • Page 184

Criticism edit

  • His great novel The Leopard (Il Gattopardo) has certainly enlarged my life – an unusual experience for a life which is well on in its eighties. Reading and rereading it has made me realize how many ways there are of being alive, how many doors there are, close to one, which someone else's touch may open.
    • E. M. Forster, Introduction to Lampedusa's Two Stories and a Memory (New York: Pantheon, 1962) p. 13.
  • Perhaps the greatest novel of the century.
    • L. P. Hartley on The Leopard, quoted in Robin Healey Twentieth-Century Italian Literature in English Translation (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998) p. 146.
  • No nineteenth-century writer could have written this nineteenth-century tale; but few twentieth-century writers could have handled its simplicities in the way this one does.

External links edit