The Last Cigarette
- Memoir of Italo Svevo by Livia Veneziani Svevo, translated by Isabel Quigly
Libris, 178 pp, £17.95, April 1989, ISBN 1 870352 40 8
In the context of modern culture ‘ordinary people’ are not seen as individuals but as representative embodiments of the right sort of social attitudes. Modernism also saw them in the mass, and disliked or ignored it: D.H. Lawrence, like Wyndham Lewis, made a principle out of such generalised contempt. As an ordinary person one would perhaps rather be despised by Modernism than recruited into the socialist pantheon, for there are at least two great writers, usually counted as Modernists, in whose work ordinariness achieves a highly individual and idiosyncratic literary status – James Joyce and Italo Svevo.
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