The Gold-Rimmed Spectacles (Il romanzo di Ferrara, Book 2) (Penguin Modern Classics)
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Title note: Original Title Gli occhiali d'oro
Publish Year note: First published in 1958
Published in 1958, Giorgio Bassani's novella is the first of his cycle of novels set in the northern Italian town of Ferrara. Although less well known than its successor, The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, it offers perhaps the most concise distillation of Bassani's art: elegant, elegiac, and with a profound attachment to the specificities of time and place.
The novella tells the story of the gradual marginalisation, over the course of the 1930s, of the gay doctor Athos Fadigati: once a pillar of bourgeois society, his taste for young men leads to his ostracisation and eventual suicide. Bassani's controlled style and lightness of touch transform a seemingly slight premise into a metaphor for the slide of Italy into fascism. -- Ben Hutchinson, The Observer
down, on the dunes, covered until only a few days before by a parched and stunted growth of brush, an incredible multitude of marvellous, budding yellow flowers appeared, long-stalked as lilies. To understand the full significance of that sudden flowering one needed to have a passing knowledge of the Romagnolo coast. The summer was over: from that moment on it would be nothing but a memory. I made the most of it by settling down to my studies. I was hoping to take my Ancient History exam the
misfortunes. They had dismissed him from the hospital with some perfunctory excuse. Even at the clinic in Via Gorgadello, entire afternoons could pass without the visit of a single patient. For him, it was true, there was no one in the world he had to look after … provide for; he had no immediate hardships as far as his finances were concerned … but was it possible to keep on living like this, in the most utter solitude, surrounded by general hostility? The time wasn’t far off, at all events,
only right, and besides I like it!’ The doctor knelt to stroke her head. In a fit of genuine passion, the creature kept on licking his hands. She tried to reach his face with the sudden upward ambush of a kiss. ‘Calm down, will you? Calm down …’ Fadigati kept repeating. Still followed or led by the mongrel, we resumed our stroll. By this stage we had drawn near to my house. When she was in front, the dog stopped at every crossing as though fearful of losing us again. ‘Will you look at her!’
the Rhine; was renewed at Galliera, a little beyond the iron bridge, and again at San Giorgio di Piano, San Pietro in Casale, Castelmaggiore and at Corticella. When the train arrived in Bologna, from the doors that opened with an almost explosive violence, a small tumultuous crowd of some hundreds would flow out on to Platform 16. That left the one and only second-class carriage: which, at least until a certain time, until, to be specific, the winter of 1936/7, never disgorged a single soul.
continued with their card game – thick as thieves, they kept on arguing, laughing and gesticulating. However, soon enough, as we might have predicted, we would begin to see the doctor stroll about in the third-class carriages. The communicating door was locked. The first few times, to have it opened (he himself would later explain) he always had to seek out the guard. He would put his head into the gambling-den compartment. ‘Do excuse me,’ he asked, ‘but might I please move into the