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The Leopard (Everyman's Library Classics) [Hardcover]

Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa , David Gilmour , A. Colquhoun
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
Price: 12.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

26 Sep 1991 Everyman's Library Classics
A bitter-sweet tale of quiet lives in the small and apparently timeless world of mid-19th century Sicilian nobility. Through the eyes of his princely protagonist, the author chronicles the details of an aristocratic, pastoral society, torn apart by revolution, death and decay.

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The Leopard (Everyman's Library Classics) + The Leopard [1963] [DVD]
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Everyman; New Ed edition (26 Sep 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857150236
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857150230
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 13.2 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 323,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Every once in a while, like certain golden moments of happiness, infinitely memorable, one stumbles on a book or a writer, and the impact is like an indelible mark. Lampedusa's The Leopard, his only novel, and a masterpiece, is such a work" (Independent)

"Perhaps the greatest novel of the century" (L.P. Hartley)

"One of the great lonely books...not a historical novel, but a novel which happens to take place in history" (E.M. Forster)

"The poetry of Lampedusa's novel flows into the Sicilian countryside...a work of great artistry" (Peter Ackroyd)

"I was astounded by the power of the writing" (Corin Redgrave) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

This is the new, revised edition which includes recently discovered new material including letters and diary entries by the author and two additional sections of the novel.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
93 of 95 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest Novel of the 20th Century? 24 Jan 2005
By S Hines
Every once in a while you stumble upon a book so magical, so beautifully and carefully written and so engrossing that the boundaries of what you thought were great literature are so rendered pointless that you reassess your opinions on all of the books you have read before. Lampedusa's 'The Leopard' is one such book. It was on reading an interview with Martin Scorcese about the birth of the mafia in Scicily that the book was brought to my attention; it is with a huge debt of gratitude that I tracked it down and dove into its beautiful depths. Never has a book moved me and made me thirst for more as this. The central character, Fabrizio, is a masterful creation; in turns a swaggering relic of the past and pathetic and useless bulwark against the onslaught of modernity encapsulated by Garibaldi. The pathos which threads through the novel is perfectly mirrored by the knowledge that Lampedusa wrote no more than this; a tragedy, which qualifies this as the greatest novel of the 20th Century. If you love literature, life and great works of art, read this.
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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Clear Vision 24 May 2006
The Leopard is a strange novel. It was the only book written and published by Giovanni Tomasi di Lampedusa, last scion of a decadent Sicilian noble family. He wrote it towards the end of an indolent life and didn't live to see it brought into the world by the publishing house, Feltrinelli. It doesn't have a plot; to recount what happens would make it sound like a biography leavened with social history. It is a book about an aristocrat by an aristocrat recalling the passing of an age of aristocracy, and yet one that would have made a lot of sense to the Marxist literary culture of 1950s Italy. Its outlook is one of weary disillusionment that holds out little hope of social improvement or even personal contentment. It sounds dreadfully depressing, doesn't it? Lampedusa himself said once, "It is, I fear, rubbish." Actually, it is neither.

At its heart, there is one character: Fabrizio Corbero, Prince of Salina, The Leopard. It is in the portrayal of this man, and through his eyes, that of Sicily and its people that the quality of The Leopard lies. Lampedusa's eye is very sharp and sensitive to the smallest fluctuations of mood and motive, to the currents of history that pass through, or by, the characters and to the contradictions that sit comfortably together in every moment. One example of many. Salina is out hunting with the parish priest and they bring down a rabbit. They are out of sight of any human habitation in a land that would have looked the same to the Phoenicians, Dorians and Ionians 2,000 years before. The two hunters approach the fatally wounded prey and Don Fabrizio is fixed upon by "eyes that showed no reproof, but were full of a stunned shock towards the whole order of things ...
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102 of 105 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Small but perfectly formed 26 Feb 2005
I think this may be the nearest thing to a perrfect novel. It's set in Sicily around the time of the '100 days' - the beginning of Garibaldi's campaign to unite Italy (and extend the franchise along the way). The central character is an aging aristocrat. He is at once admirable, contemptible and pitiable. He is more aware than his peers that the power of his class is crumbling, along with his own previously formidable powers. His loyalty - to his family, his class, and a king whom he personally despises - dominates his actions, even while he knows the inevitability of failure. Yet his personal relations with his family are distant.
The book is a great work of art. Much is understated, implied, ambiguous. The revolution has bittersweet consequences: it is obvious what was gained, but something was lost (the author was also a count). So much is said in so few words. Occasionally the peaks of human artistry inspire awe: how can a person do this? This is such a peak. Paragraphs, pages even, are perfect.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Unique Read 5 Sep 2007
The book opens with a languid but elegant intoduction to the leisured life of Fabrizio, Prince of Salina, a Sicilian princeling of the 1860s. Oh dear, I thought, after reading a few pages. Is this one of those books that has acquired a grand self-perpetuating reputation, a book you have to call a work of genius because everybody else does? At that point, like a boxer delivering a jab, Di Lampedusa casually throws in an account of the recent discovery in the palace gardens of the corpse of a royalist soldier, nailing down every repellent detail a split second before it occurs to the reader - the scrabbling hands, the spilt intestines, the desperation of death... No, I thought, they're right.

A few minutes research on, say, Wikipedia, into the origins, nature and ultimate fate of the "Kingdom of the Two Sicilies" whose turbulent decline forms the landscape outside the palace walls is well repaid. Di Lampedusa certainly had the powers to delineate the "risorgimento" - the Italian war of unification - on the epic scale but chose to look at it, so to speak, down the other end of the telescope. This book could sit well with War and Peace as a document of human conflict but Di Lampedusa, being a brilliant miniaturist, keeps the soldiery offstage and the seat of the action is the inner world of Prince Fabrizio. I can hardly think of a character in literature so fully realised.

Fabrizio's central dilemma is this. On the political level he has sufficient acuteness to appreciate that the conversion of Italy from a ramshackle collection of teetering monarchies into a liberal, bourgeois whole may be as much a relief as a threat.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding Sicily
A fantastic read -I was told by a Sicilian that if I wanted to understand Sicily I had to read this, so I did. Read more
Published 2 days ago by P. Heery
5.0 out of 5 stars It is the best foreign book that I have ever read
It is the best foreign book that I have ever read. It is still as fresh as the day it was written, just fresh off the page. I don't think Sicily has changed that much either!
Published 7 days ago by Gwendoline Chaplin
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 29 days ago by simon robert ormerod
5.0 out of 5 stars Always Worth Reading
Giuseppe Tomasi wrote this book which is based upon his great-grandfather, and the period he lived in. Read more
Published 1 month ago by M. Dowden
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Delivered promptly. Was as expected
Published 1 month ago by Theresa Litchfield
5.0 out of 5 stars The Leopard, at last - wonderful
A glorious read, full of exquisite language, and expressing the period, the place and the personalities perfectly.
Published 1 month ago by balletsrusses
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!
This is such a great book that I don't feel worthy to review it. If you like great novels, social history, Italian history or comedies of manners, you should read it.
Published 1 month ago by J. Nurick
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
I just could not get into it?
Published 1 month ago by marian pullara
3.0 out of 5 stars The Leopard
I did not enjoy The Leopard. Not really my type of book. I enjoyed the script but not the story. Book was chosen by the Book Club I belong to.
Published 1 month ago by Sally Ibbotson
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book.
I have read this book several times and wanted a new copy as the old one fell apart. This edition is lovely and I will treasure it and pass it on to my daughter. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Margaret Lovegrove
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