Svevo, Italo

Svevo, Italo

(ē`tälō zvā`vō), 1861–1928, Italian novelist, whose real name was Ettore Schmitz, b. Trieste. A businessman, he wrote several works of fiction, but remained practically unknown until discovered by James JoyceJoyce, James,
1882–1941, Irish novelist. Perhaps the most influential and significant novelist of the 20th cent., Joyce was a master of the English language, exploiting all of its resources.
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. His fiction is psychological and introspective, his characters mainly narcissistic, and his style witty. His best-known work, which has been called Italy's first modernist novel, is La coscienza di Zeno (1923, tr. The Confessions of Zeno, 1930, and Zeno's Conscience, 2001); also translated are Una Vita (1892, tr. A Life, 1963), Senilità, (1898; tr. As a Man Grows Older, 1949, rev. tr. 1977, repr. 2001; tr. Emilio's Carnival, 2001), and Una burla riuscita (1928, tr. The Hoax, 1929).


See biographies by P. N. Furbank (1966) and B. Weiss (1987); studies by B. Moloney (1974 and 1977), and L. G. Subrizi (1984).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Svevo, Italo


(pen name of Ettore Schmitz). Born Dec. 19, 1861, in Trieste; died Sept. 13, 1928, in Motta di Livenza, in the region of Venice. Italian writer.

Sevevo’s life and works were associated with Trieste. After his autobiographical novels A Life (1892) and As a Man Grows Older (1898) went unnoticed, he did not publish for 25 years. The realistic novel Confessions ofZeno (1923; Russian translation, 1972), which is permeated with an occasionally grotesque irony, revealed his talent for psychological self-examination. It satirizes both the hero’s own milieu of clever Trieste operators and bourgeois society in general. Svevo foresaw that technological progress would prove to be a mixed blessing for this society. It was only after the publication of Confessions of Zeno that Svevo gained recognition. In Western European literary studies he is regarded as a precursor of Joyce and Proust and a founder of the stream-of-consciousness literary method. However, his work is based on the traditions of the 19th-century realistic novel.


Opera omnia, vols. 1–3. Edited by B. Maier. Milan [1966–68].


Gramsci, A. “‘Otkrytie’ Italo Svevo.” In O literature i iskusstve. Moscow, 1967.
Khlodovskii, R. “Bolezn’ Dzeno.” Inostrannaia literatura, 1973, no. 6.
Lunetta, M. Invito alla lettura di Italo Svevo. Milan, 1972.
Spagnoletti, G. Svevo. Milan, 1972.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Svevo, Italo. La coscienza di Zeno e 'continuazioni'.