ll giardino dei Finzi-Contini eBook Þ ll giardino

ll giardino dei Finzi-Contini Gli orrori della persecuzione fascista e razzista, la crudelt della storia, l incantesimo dell infanzia e la felicit del sogno sono gli elementi intrecciati con grazia e eleganza, di questo romanzo triste e dolcissimo La prima edizione del romanzo del 1962. La mia ansia che il presente diventasse subito passato perch potessi amarlo e vagheggiarlo a mio agio era anche sua, tale e quale Era il nostro vizio, questo d andare avanti con le teste sempre voltate all indietro Il testo di Bassani che oggi leggiamo il risultato di almeno tre rimaneggiamenti che l autore fece rispetto all originaria edizione del 1962 Quello che fondamentalmente cambia la prospettiva di questa storia che si svolge a Ferrara dal racconto in terza persona,e dove il protagonista di un altra citt , si passa alla narrazione condotta da un anonimo giovane ebreo ferrarese Bassani stesso Al centro del racconto c la storia di una famiglia dell alta borghesia ebraica ferrarese, per l appunto i Finzi Contini ed, in particolare, la giovane Mic l.Prologo La voce narrante rievoca un episodio una scampagnata domenicale con un gruppo di amici e la loro figlia che si conclude con la visita alla tombe etrusche nei dintorni di Roma Pap domand ancora Giannina, perch le tombe antiche fanno meno malinconia di quelle pi nuove.La bambina simboleggia la freschezza e l ingenuit ma anche l impegno che devono assumersi le nuove generazioni e con questo escamotage si tende il filo conduttore di tutto il romanzo la memoria di cui occorre prendersi cura e portare rispetto Il racconto stesso della visita alle tombe etrusche stimola il ricordo del cimitero ebraico ferrarese dove si trova la monumentale tomba dei Finzi Contini E cos l incipit la descrive La tomba era grande, massiccia, davvero imponente una specie di tempio tra l antico e l orientale.La morte sempre presente anche se non tutti se ne accorgono o non vogliono farlo.Un romanzo in s estremamente metaforico dove la geografia stessa dell ambiente in cui si dipana la storia parla di un dentro e di fuori rispetto al famigerato giardino dove i limiti sono dati da alte, ma non invalicabili, mura Vita e morte si fronteggiano Da un lato la vitalit e la spensieratezza dei protagonisti prima ragazzini e poi giovani universitari, dall altro il sottofondo del fatale corso della Storia Le leggi razziali sono un fastidio soprattutto quando al gi esclusivo circolo sportivo vengono vietati i campi da tennis agli ebrei Una vera scocciatura a cui Alberto e Mic l i giovani Finzi Contini rimediano offrendo il campo che all interno del loro giardino I cancelli dunque si aprono Come dice Montale nella sua prefazione un giardino in cui si entra solo con lunghi movimenti concentrici e anche qui troviamo una metafora per cui anche una volta entrati a contatto con questa famiglia non significa n che sia facile n che sia scontato raggiungere il loro cuore view spoiler L ignoto protagonista da qui concentrer la sua attenzione su Mic l assediandola ed abbattendosi per i suoi rifiuti fino all abbandono definitivo hide spoiler An Elegy encapsulated in a garden Recalled through the torn veils of memory this semiautobiographical interlude evokes the life of the Finzi Contini, a Jewish and wealthy Ferrarese family, during the ominous late 1930s.Those lives are revived during a visit to an Etruscan cemetery twenty years later Another kind of garden.The novel opens for us a garden of lost youth, where illusions grew in a fertile ground and where the possibilities seemed endless Echoes of the primeval garden, of an overgrown paradise, or of the Hortus Conclusus of protected virginity, welcome us from the beginning since the title of the book acts as a kind of Welcoming Banner.The tale has then the sweet and bitter taste of tragic nostalgia Tragic because we know what is coming the Italy of the black shirts The inevitability of catastrophes in history easily seems evitable in posterity But Bassani immerses us in the original development of events, and in its necessity we feel the imminence of tragedy It shrouds with dark tones the scented story of youth, innocence and longing for love And we are not mistaken in our expectations as we come up to the enclosing, limiting, ending wall.But we are to remember and books can be like the centennial trees Witnesses of past ages. The short prologue to this book describes a visit by the narrator and his friends to the ancient burial site of the Etruscans at Cerveteri near Rome sometime in the 1950s In the course of the visit, a discussion arises between one of the friends and his young daughter about why it might be less sad to visit a burial ground from long ago than to visit a present day one The father claims that it is because we knew and loved the people who are buried in our modern graveyards, whereas the amount of time that has passed makes it as if the people buried in ancient sites never really lived at all, or as if they were always dead But his young daughter is not convinced For her the Etruscans deserve our sadness just as much as do our recent dead Time does not make them less worthy of remembrance.That prologue seems to underline Giorgio Bassani s intention for his Ferrara novels, of which this book is the third In this episode I see a strengthening of his determination to preserve the memory of the community he belonged to while growing up in Ferrara in the 30s, and which has been well dispersed by the time he was writing this book in the late 50s He wants to make sure that Time does not make it as if the community never existed, especially since many of its members, in contrast to the Etruscans with their well furnished tombs complete with food, utensils, mosaics, chairs and beds, never had any tomb at all The Finzi Contini family at the centre of this story seem to live as royally as the Etruscans Their house and gardens are exceptionally large and imposing, and they possess a large and imposing tomb in the Jewish graveyard in Ferrara Their lives and their after lives seem well taken care of In this beautifully written narrative, Giorgio Bassani has ensured that this particular family, who lived as if already safely buried behind the high walls of their garden, are fully deserving of our remembrance I doubt there is a reader who could ever forget them For those who are interested in the parallels I ve been finding between Bassani s Ferrara cycle and Marcel Proust s Recherche du Temps Perdu, let me say that there are even here than in the second book, The Gold Rimmed Spectacles.The narrator is the same as in that book, and he remains unnamed In this episode he recounts his memories of the Finzi Contini family, from when he first became aware of them as a young boy in the late 1920s until he left Ferrara at the outbreak of the war.Like Marcel Proust s unnamed narrator s obsession with the Guermantes family, which began with a sighting in the church at Combray when he was a child, and which grew and grew with the passing years, Bassani s narrator first spots the Finzi Contini family in the local synagogue Each year during Passover, Rosh HaShannah and Hanukkah, he gets another sighting, and becomes and interested in this family he rarely sees elsewhere He becomes particularly fascinated with the son and daughter of the house, Alberto and Mic l, who have private lessons and therefore don t attend the local school One day when he is a young teenager, he has a brief encounter with Mic l across the Finzi Contini garden wall just as Proust s narrator does with Gilberte Swann through the garden railings of Tansonville From that day onwards, his interest in the Finzi Continis transforms into an interest in Mic l alone just as Proust s narrator becomes obsessed with Gilberte during his teenage years to the exclusion of all else Both narrators have to wait a few years before they again encounter the object of their affection and the encounters happen in similar circumstances an invitation to the loved one s home, for afternoon tea and conversation in the case of Gilberte, for afternoon tea and tennis, in the case of Mic l Then, in both cases, another period of separation, during which they suffer jealous torment, before a later encounter takes place These parallels may not seem much to other readers but they strike me as significant, and I ll be on the lookout for as I read on through the final books in the cycle Edited 6 7 19 see last section4.5 stars for me, no less than for her, the memory of things was much important than the possession of them, and in comparison with that memory all possession, in itself, seemed just disappointing, delusive, flat, insufficient.The way I longed for the present to become the past at once, so that I could love it and gaze fondly at it any timeIt was our vice, this looking backward as we went ahead translated by William Weaver The inner flap of this edition mentions Marcel Proust, but even without that I m sure I would ve thought of him, not only with the above passage, but with the unnamed narrator s love for the tennis playing Mic l, at an age when love equals jealousy, a love without the understanding that the insecurities and accusations that arise from the lesser emotion will not endear you to the beloved Though she s seen through the narrator s rear view mirror, Mic l is no Proustian Albertine For only one thing, Mic l s family, not the narrator s, is the one with money but importantly, unlike Albertine, Mic l is not a concept but a character who speaks her mind, acts and reacts though perhaps the two differences are not unrelated It is Ferrara, though, with its city walls and ducal gardens, that is the main character, a city as insular as Mic l s family.We know from the beginning that this Jewish family living in Fascist Italy in the late 1930s is doomed They continue to live as they always do, ignoring a certain future, even making plans to enlarge a tennis court that their non Jewish friends are forbidden to play on Political thought is represented in the character of their Communist friend, the forward thinking Malnate, but even he cannot escape The familiarity of the novel s tone nagged at me, though I can t put my finger on why it felt that way and I m not thinking of Proust now Most likely, that feeling came from other backwards looking novels of love and loss I ve read that have become an amorphous mass in my so called memory bank, but that doesn t mean this one isn t a special one.Because of events listed in the author s biography on the book jacket, I assumed this novel was semi autobiographical but it was only today, after paging to the front of the book before writing this review, that I noticed the dedication To Mic l I read the first translated into English edition and encountered a couple of disconcerting, glaringly obvious, misplaced modifiers I trust those were corrected in later editions Reread In Within the Walls and The Gold Rimmed Spectacles, the works that come before this novel in this edition Bassani s narrator seems to be commenting on community members staying purposely unaware, not open, to what is about to happen With my second read of The Garden of the Finzi Continis, I find Bassani s narrator also not facing up to reality, choosing to be in a state of dreaming, of the past, in lieu of facing the present Rereading this review, I saw that I marked the same passage different translations during my two reads see the top of the page to compare that to this She could sense it very clearly for me, no less than for her, the past counted far than the present, remembering something far than possessing it Compared to memory, every possession can only ever seem disappointing, banal, inadequateShe understood me so well My anxiety that the present immediately turned into the past so that I could love it and dream about it at leisure was just like hers, was identical It was our vice, this to go forward with our heads forever turned back translated by Jamie McKendrick I reread the novel in this edition.

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