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Prisoners of Hope


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Table of Contents

1. The Most Ancient of Minorities 2. Exercises in Futility: Trieste and Rome The Redeemed and the Eternal City Italo Svevo's "Discomfort": Premature Aging and Belated Fame Alberto Moravia's World-Weary Adolescents 3. Two Captives Called Levi Fascism and Italian Jewry The Physician. Painter Don Carlo: Exile and Wonder-Worker The Chemist Primo: "Poet" of the Concentration Camp "Prisoners of Hope" 4. The Moment of Recollection: Turin The Testimony of Four Memoirists Natalia Ginzburg: The Painful Apprenticeship Natalia Ginzburg: The Arrival and the Departure of the Jews 5. The Moment of Recollection: Ferrara The Incomparable Walled City Giorgio Bassani: To the Paradise Garden Giorgio Bassani: The Splendor of Death The Cycle Closed 6. The Meanings of "Survival" Notes Index

About the Author

H. Stuart Hughes (1916-1999) was Professor of History, Emeritus, at the University of California, San Diego.


The years between 1924 and 1974 may indeed have been a silver age for the Italian Jews, but for Italian prose literature the age was golden. This distinguished book, which combines the expert skills of a seasoned historian with the understanding of a literary critic steeped in the language and literature of his subject, offers a challenging interpretation to those who already know these writers, and will serve as a masterly introduction for those whom it will inspire to make their acquaintance. -- Bernard Knox * New York Review of Books *
Hughes has written a provocative book... A work attentive to nuance and pleasurable to read. -- Adrian Lyttelton * Times Literary Supplement *
[An] elegantly written volume which probes the identity of modern Italian Jews through a sensitive reading of the works of six important Italian authors. The first work to address central issues of identity and assimilation in relation to Italian Jews, it evokes their unfamiliar world while suggesting the broader significance of their grappling with Judaism and modernity. Eschewing simplistic dichotomies, Hughes makes a valuable contribution to the study of Italian literature and Jewish history. -- Lois C. Dubin * Religious Studies Review *
This book should be read by anyone interested in either modern Italian literature or Italy's Jewish community. * Hadassah Magazine *

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