Gianna Manzini (1896–1974) is considered one of the most accomplished writers in Italy, praised by important literary critics and writers, and widely known by Italian readers. Her fiction has been compared closely to that of Virginia Woolf, Thomas Mann and Paul Valéry. It is well recognized that narrative in Italy began its “experiment of lyrical expression” with the appearance of Manzini’s first novel, Tempo innamorato.
Her prize-winning bestseller Full-Length Portrait (Ritratto in piedi) is a semi-autobiographical novel, first published in 1971, and presents a portrait of her father, Giuseppe Manzini. It took her nearly a lifetime to come to terms with her feelings for her father in order to write this book about him. A noted anarchist publisher, editor and author, who became alienated from his wife and daughter for his political beliefs, Giuseppe Manzini was imprisoned and finally exiled to a small town where he died after being attacked by a group of local Fascists.
Manzini weaves a poetic portrait of the relationship between father and daughter, revealing a deep and binding devotion yet highlighting all the personal, political and even literary tensions between them: his “arrow straight” pursuit of clarity versus her “acrobatic” pursuit of literature; his attempt to touch the core truth of life and her attempt to see through to the “life behind life.”
First English translation.
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