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At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Conformist’, 20 March 2008

The Conformist 
directed by Bernardo Bertolucci.
August 1970
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... Stratagem (also 1970) and Last Tango in Paris (1973). It’s based on a novel of the same name by Alberto Moravia, and both movie and novel pursue a curious double project. One part of it is to suggest, along with Kubrick and Sellers, that normality is a truly peculiar idea; or at least it’s peculiar to think of possessing it, as distinct from ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Le Mépris’, 21 January 2016

Le Mépris 
directed by Jean-Luc Godard.
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... to us in a curiously informal way, spoken in voiceover, not printed. ‘It’s based on a novel by Alberto Moravia. There are Brigitte Bardot and Jack Palance … And also Fritz Lang … The images are by Raoul Coutard … It’s a film by Jean-Luc Godard.’ Then we do get a bit of text to read, from André Bazin, telling us that films create a world ...

The Truth about Consuela

Tim Parks: Death and Philip Roth, 4 November 2010

by Philip Roth.
Cape, 280 pp., £16.99, October 2010, 978 0 224 08953 1
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... In the 1980s I translated some of the late novels and stories of Alberto Moravia, elderly but still prolific. These books, which abandoned observation of society for concerns with ageing and sex, did not get a good press and have since disappeared from the shelves, while Moravia’s earlier work will be a part of Italian education for decades to come ...


Nicholas Spice, 6 November 1986

Roger’s Version 
by John Updike.
Deutsch, 316 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 233 97988 3
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The Voyeur 
by Alberto Moravia, translated by Tim Parks.
Secker, 186 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 436 28721 8
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Dvorak in Love 
by Josef Skvorecky, translated by Paul Wilson.
Chatto, 322 pp., £10.95, September 1986, 0 7011 2994 8
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Moments of Reprieve 
by Primo Levi, translated by Ruth Feldman.
Joseph, 172 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 7181 2726 9
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... sea urchin on the white ocean floor’. Van Horne’s moony and Verna’s flash would interest Alberto Moravia, whose latest novel, The Voyeur, is much concerned with sexual exhibitionism and the relations – necessary and interchangeable – between exhibitionist and voyeur. Among its many observations on this subject, The Voyeur advances a theory ...

A Conversation with Gore Vidal

Thomas Powers: Meeting Gore Vidal, 31 July 2014

... R.W.B. Lewis’s book, which mentioned that she’d met a smoldering young writer in Italy named Alberto Moravia. So Vidal called Moravia to ask if he remembered Edith Wharton – here Vidal mimics Moravia’s puzzled Italian and his hazy memory of a heavy, dull, unremarkable old ...

Funny Old Fame

Patrick Parrinder, 10 January 1991

Things: A Story of the Sixties, 
by Georges Perec, translated by David Bellos and Andrew Leak.
Collins Harvill, 221 pp., £12.50, July 1990, 0 00 271038 2
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Parcours Peree 
edited by Mireille Ribière.
Presses Universitaires de Lyon, 162 pp., frs 125, July 1990, 2 7297 0365 9
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by Philippe Sollers, translated by Barbara Bray.
Columbia, 559 pp., $24.95, December 1990, 0 231 06546 9
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... guessed? – a novelist writing a novel, and there are walk-on parts for such fellow novelists as Alberto Moravia, Anthony Burgess (who appears under his own name) and the clumsily veiled author of The Hormones of the New Eve, ‘Angela Lobster’. Will, an American journalist on intimate terms with the French intelligentsia, is supposedly writing his ...

Slammed by Hurricanes

Jenny Turner: Elsa Morante, 20 April 2017

The World Saved by Kids: And Other Epics 
by Elsa Morante, translated by Cristina Viti.
Seagull, 319 pp., £19.50, January 2017, 978 0 85742 379 5
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... Ashes of Gramsci’ published in Nuovi Argomenti, the journal edited by her husband, the novelist Alberto Moravia. The marriage had long been an open one, and for two years in the early 1950s Morante had been obsessively involved with the filmmaker Luchino Visconti, one of a series of passionate friendships with men who were mainly or exclusively ...

Full of Words

Tim Parks: ‘Arturo’s Island’, 15 August 2019

Arturo’s Island 
by Elsa Morante, translated by Ann Goldstein.
Pushkin, 370 pp., £9.99, May 2019, 978 1 78227 495 7
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... In the early 1950s Carlo Cassola, Beppe Fenoglio, Vasco Pratolini, Morante’s husband, Alberto Moravia, and her friends Natalia Ginzburg and Pier Paolo Pasolini were all in different ways seeking to describe postwar desolation in spare, chastened prose. Morante was having none of it. Her own writing is more reminiscent of the fin-de-siècle ...

Screaming in the Castle: The Case of Beatrice Cenci

Charles Nicholl: The story of Beatrice Cenci, 2 July 1998

... Cenci, written in 1819. Other writers drawn to the subject include Stendhal, Dickens, Artaud and Alberto Moravia. The appeal of the story is partly lurid – a pungent mix of Renaissance sex and violence; a sense of dark deeds behind the closed doors of a prominent Roman family. It affords a glimpse, in Shelley’s words, of ‘the most dark and secret ...

Smilingly Excluded

Richard Lloyd Parry: An Outsider in Tokyo, 17 August 2006

The Japan Journals: 1947-2004 
by Donald Richie, edited by Leza Lowitz.
Stone Bridge, 494 pp., £13.99, October 2005, 1 880656 97 3
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... Spender and Angus Wilson look on as an enema is administered on the tatami to a haemorrhoidal Alberto Moravia. The indifference and obliviousness of these literary celebrities find their epitome in Truman Capote. ‘I have seen Japan,’ he announces in the coffee shop of the Imperial Hotel. ‘And I may just as well tell you that I do not like a ...

Bites from the Bearded Crocodile

G. Cabrera Infante, 4 June 1981

... Magnus Enzensberger, Juan Goytisolo, André Pierre de Mandiargues, Alain Jouffroy, Joyce Mansour, Alberto Moravia, Octavio Paz and some others who couldn’t even pronounce the name of Padilla correctly, much less read his poems. It was a case of tit for tat. The European and Latin American intellectuals had been disillusioned with the Cuban Revolution ...

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