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Contempt [Paperback]

By Alberto Moravia, Tim Parks (Introduction by), Angus Davidson (Translator), John Kinsella (Foreward By), G. P. Goold, Chris Wilbert, Glenn Barr & Kevin Nowlan
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Item Number 426345  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   251
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 5" Height: 8"
Weight:   0.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 1, 2004
Publisher   NYRB Classics
ISBN  1590171225  
EAN  9781590171226  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Contempt is a brilliant and unsettling work by one of the revolutionary masters of modern European literature. All the qualities for which Alberto Moravia is justly famous—his cool clarity of expression, his exacting attention to psychological complexity and social pretension, his still-striking openness about sex—are evident in this story of a failing marriage. Contempt (which was to inspire Jean-Luc Godard's no-less-celebrated film) is an unflinching examination of desperation and self-deception in the emotional vacuum of modern consumer society.

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More About Alberto Moravia, Tim Parks, Angus Davidson, John Kinsella, G. P. Goold, Chris Wilbert, Glenn Barr & Kevin Nowlan

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Alberto Moravia (1907-1990), the child of a wealthy family, was raised at home because of illness. He published his first novel, The Time of Indifference, at the age of twenty-three. Banned from publishing under Mussolini, he emerged after World War II as one of the most admired and influential twentieth-century Italian writers. Among his best-known books to have appeared in English are Boredom, The Woman of Rome, The Conformist (the basis for Bernardo Bertolucci's film), Roman Tales, Contempt (the basis for Jean-Luc Godard's film), and Two Women.

William Weaver is celebrated for his numerous translations from the Italian, including Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose and novels and stories by Italo Calvino.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary   [78538  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Literary   [246863  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > History & Criticism > Criticism & Theory > General   [8246  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Faustian Bargain and the Unreliable Narrator  Dec 26, 2004
After a second reading of Contempt, I feel compelled to call the short, tautly written novel a masterpiece. Told from the perspective of a neurotic egotist, the narrator accounts how he "sacrificed" his literary writing career to debase himself in the tawdry task of writing screenplays so that he can afford to lavish his wife with a bigger more opulent living quarters. The narrator convinces himself that not only does his wife not appreciate his "sacrifice," but that she no longer loves him. It's horrifying to read this narcissist's account of his marital disintegration because you begin to realize that he is projecting his own lack of love toward his wife (a pefectly fine, loving woman) and you realize that he is so emotionally arrested that he is incapable of loving anyone. Further, a close reading reveals that the narrator never sacrificed his writing career for his wife's opulent tastes, but rather is debasng his writing talents for his own greedy materialistic acquistion.

Many see Moravia's novel as the quintessential example of "modernism," the movement that emphasizes the human limitation for self-understanding and the understanding of others. Also, the novel explores Freudian themes of projection, paranoia, and the powers of the unconscious.

The novel is fast-paced save for a few chapters where the writer and director indulge in long-winded discussions about the mythical exposition of their film but overall the novel is a real page-turner full of suspense and psychological realism.

If you enjoy this suspensful novel told from the point of view of an unreliable narrator, I recommend Asylum by Patrick McGrath, Despair by Vladimir Nabokov, and The Horned Man by James Lasdun.
Moravia At His Creative Peak  Sep 21, 2004
Finally, someone had the common decency to reprint Moravia in translation. And they also picked the best titles. Il Disprezzo (The Contempt) is the best, most honest, unflinching look at the disintegration of a relationship that I have ever read. Last released in the States in the 1950's under the title A Ghost at Noon, this is the same excellent translation by Angus Davidson, who translated almost all of the authors works up until his death in 1990. If you've ever experienced the conclusion of a long-term relationship and for some masochistic reason want to remember what it was like, this is the book for you. I guess that's not a ringing endorsement. But trust me, Moravia's penchant for psychological details is so devastatingly on-point, you'll find yourself nodding nauseatingly at the pathetic delusions and convoluted rationalizations taking place between the couple. It should be noted that this isn't the book's only focus. Quite uncharacteristically, Moravia tackles popular culture and the highbrow-lowbrow dichotomy in a darkly humorous fashion. I haven't seen Godard's film adaptation but I understand that it is an incredible achievement in itself.
A modern version of an old myth  May 31, 2004
A theatre writer, Riccardo Molteni, cannot write anymore because his wife, Emilia, does not love him anymore. Moreover, she despises him, all of a sudden.

The search for the reasons which led to this sudden change of feelings, makes Moravia rewrite a modern versin of Ulyse's myth. In a few words, Penelope did not love Ulyse anymore, though she remained faithful to him even before he left for Troja. Why did she not love him? Because the king's behaviour was not masculine enough towards her admirers at the court.
Therefore, Ulyse wins his wife's contempt and consequently leaves for Troja to free himself in a way. After the war, he postpones sine die his return to Ithaca, obessed by the same thing: Penelope's contempt.

When he finally decides to go back home, he knows he has no other solution but to violently kill all Penelope's admirers, in order to get her admiration and love.

And this is how Homer can be well combined with Freud. The moravian style, vivid and direct, manifests itself in this novel, keeping alive the pleasure of your reading.

I think Alberto Moravia is one of the greatest Italian writers of all times. All his novels deal with important issues our society has to face, problems we all have. Many of us will recognize ourselves in his characters.

It will be a very challenging reading that will make you ask a lot of questions about yourself and your life. Enjoy it!

opened to the bone  May 11, 2000
Moravia's writing which I would not have encountered were it not for these elegant new paperback versions of his work is open to the bone. His honest revelations through his all too human characters are poignant, pointed, and penetrating. To any one interested in looking deep inside themeselves and their relationships: I recommend Contempt. Prepare to squirm.
le mepris revisited  Feb 22, 2000
somehow there is a new found celebration for contempt and everything associated with it. a year and a half ago, godard's contempt was finally re-released; a couple of months ago, two new books about casa malaparte allowed us to view the importance of the film's setting, most notably capri and it's culture, but now this new publication of moravia's contempt will allow everyone to view the masterpiece it truly represents.

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