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- Published on Thursday, 23 August 2012 5:15 pm
- Written by Seregil of Rhiminee
Guido Gozzano's short story collection Requiems & Nightmares was published in 2012 by Hierogplyphic Press, which is a small imprint primarily dedicated to publishing works of an eclectic and rarefied nature. The stories were translated by Brendan and Anna Connell.
Here's a description of Requiems & Nightmares:
The Turin born Guidio Gozzano was the first and finest representative of the Crepuscolari, the poets of the Twilight. Before his tragically early death from consumption at the age of thirty five he produced two short volumes of verse La via del rifugio and I colloqui, the latter rendered into English as The Colloquies, which quickly became renown for their quietly perfect evocations of nature, melancholy, tenderness and nostalgia.
But unknown to most English speakers Gozzano also wrote short stories, conte cruels influenced by Poe and Maupassant and aesthetic prose nightmares; both of which display the same delicate crepuscular style and sense of tragic absurdism. Requiems & Nightmares collects together the best of these tales and presents them to the Anglophone reader for the first time.
Within these pages the reader will find The Real Face, the bizarre fate of a promising young artist whose works grow too close to nature; A Romantic Story, a Gothic tragedy and The Soul of the Instrument, a Symbolist fairy tale after the manner of Lorrain and Wilde, along with other morbid and fantastic pieces. An exquisite item for those interested in Italian poets of the early twentieth century and the various literary movements which bloomed in that country in the years following the Fin de siècle.
A REVIEW OF GUIDO GOZZANO'S REQUIEMS & NIGHTMARES (TRANSLATED BY BRENDAN AND ANNA CONNELL)
Guido Gozzano is probably an unknown author to several readers, so here's a bit of information about him:
Guido Gozzano (1883-1916) was an Italian poet and author, who died tragically of comsumption at the age of thirty five. He was born in Turin (he spent his life in Turin and in Agliè). More information about him can be found in Wikipedia.
Requiems & Nightmares is a fascinating short story collection, which contains the following stories:
- The Real Face
- A Spiteful Day
- The Altar of the Past
- The Handsome Hound
- Pamela Films
- The Benefits of Zarathustra
- A Romantic Story
- The Soul of the Instrument
- La Bela Madamin
- A Dream
Brendan Connell and his wife, Anna Connell, have done a huge favour for readers by translating these stories into English. These small masterpieces could've easily remained as hidden treasures had they not been translated.
The translations are excellent. The translators are obviously fond of Guido Gozzano's stories, because the sentences and expressions are exquisitely beautiful and nuanced. It's easy to see that they like the original stories and have wanted to preserve their originality and uniqueness in the translation by using literary English (I think that Brendan Connell's exprerience as a writer has been helpful in this process).
It's a bit difficult to categorize these stories, but in my opinion they are beautiful, nostalgic, melancholic, gothic and even tragic stories, which can be categorized as mainstream, fantasy and horror fiction.
As a long time fan of literary, bizarre and gothic fiction, it was a real pleasure to read these stories, because the author has a fluent way of writing about the human condition, characters and weird situations. His descriptions about the characters and the events are amazingly accurate and poignant.
The descriptiveness of the prose is simply beautiful and the prose sparkles with passion. Some of the stories demonstrate that the author had surprising creativity. A sense of tragic absurdism, which was mentioned in the description of this collection, can be found in certain stories. This absurdism is compelling, because there aren't many writers who can write this kind of absurd and a bit weird stories.
The romantic, but melancholic prose of Guido Gozzano reminds me a bit of such old masters as Edgar Allan Poe, Algernon Blackwood and Daphne du Maurier. His stories have almost the same kind of effect on the reader as the stories of these old masters, but they are different kind of stories.
I have to mention that in my opinion Guido Gozzano is an excellent example of how good a writer a poet can be (I've noticed that several poets have an ability to write beautifully descriptive prose).
Some of these stories are clever while others are shocking, but all of them are fascinating and extremely well written. All the stories have a subtle, yet distinct, Italian flavour. This Italian flavour adds a charming and unique atmosphere to the stories. .
The author has a fantastic and haunting writing style, which is easily noticed in The Real Face. This short, but shocking masterpiece of gothic prose will probably surprise readers with its inventiveness and originality. A Romantic Story shows how easily he writes tragic romantic stories (the strange atmosphere of this story gives it an almost fairy tale like charm). I think that several readers will be impressed by The Soul of the Instrument, because it's one of the finest stories in this collection (it's a beautifully written fairy tale).
I'm sure that several readers will love these stories, because they're genuinely fascinating and they offer an interesting glimpse into Italian literature. These stories can be enjoyed in small doses or you can read them in one sitting.
Requiems & Nightmares is one of the most interesting reading experiences I've had, because in this collection literary prose meets creativeness with wonderful results. Requiems & Nightmares is full of beautiful and nostalgic prose, which will thrill and seduce readers (if you enjoy reading literary prose, you'll love this collection).