Day 11Zeno’s Conscience by Italo Svevo
p. 209— p. 232 (“wine shouts it, overlooking whatever life has subsequently added.”)
September 23, 2022 by Claire Messud
When Glenn Gould practiced the piano he turned on the vacuum cleaner, the better to appreciate his playing. In a similar way, Zeno’s affair with Carla only makes him love Augusta more.
With the news that Copler is probably dying, Zeno uses this as an excuse to visit Carla: “We mourned poor Copler together, really together!” Their mourning, here, a euphemism for sex. He stops by Copler’s apartment en route to Carla’s; and again on his return, to find his friend deceased…
…but returns to the Malfentis’, to Guido and Ada’s wedding party, where he lies and tells them that Copler is still alive, and that there’s hope for his recovery… then, drunkenly, that he’s in fact dead… then, that he’s still alive…
In vino veritas, the adage has it; but Zeno insists the opposite is true: “It doesn’t bring truth to the surface. Anything but the truth, indeed”—because it brings out emotions from the past, and not their evolution.
p. 20—p. 37 (“But I would have been amazed to see him really happy, alone and old as he was.”)
p. 80—p. 98 (“On the crowded Via Cavana, therefore, I had thought more purposefully than in my solitary study.”)
p. 162—p. 185 (“I had found something more than a mere pretext for doing what it was my desire to do.”)
p. 272–p. 296 (“I would not torment myself any more for having wanted to play that false role of Mentor.”)
p. 296—p. 318 (“the Ada who had scornfully repulsed me no longer existed, unless my medical books were mistaken.”)