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Fosca (Italian) Paperback – 2005

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Paperback, 2005
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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Rusconi Libri (2005)
  • Language: Italian
  • ISBN-10: 8818018256
  • ISBN-13: 978-8818018257
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 13.4 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,557,113 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
So much about this book is risible, though Tarchetti was in dead earnest. So is his narrator, Giorgio: No one who takes pains to tell us how preternaturally sensitive a soul he is is likely to have a large store of humour. And deathly serious as well is Fosca, the invalid with whom Giorgio becomes entangled. Their relationship, the subject of the novel, is the result of Giorgio's declaring his love to Fosca.

He does this, though he finds her repellent (too skinny), after a doctor tells him that if he does not do so, Fosca will die. (He finds consolation in the doctor's subsequent warning that their 'love' must remain unconsummated, as, once again, Fosca would otherwise die. Later still the doctor issues another alert: If Fosca doesn't die soon, Giorgio must instead die of the same contagious strain of hysteria. Giorgio is too occupied with agonising to tell us whether the doctor was finally removed from the register.) If you were to imagine a parody of a Decadent novel narrated by a parody of a Romantic hero you might imagine something a bit like this book. It can't be excused as a product of its time--it must have seemed silly in 1869--and Tarchetti isn't accomplished enough a writer to get away with it: He's no Zola, and this is no Therese Racquin, no over-heated melodrama that is redeemed by good atmospheric writing.

What makes the book of more than historical interest is Fosca herself. I can't at the moment remember another fictional character so monstrous as she.
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Format: Paperback
In this unlikely love triangle, set in 19th century Italy, "The Beauty and the Beast" is being turned upside down and inside out and then some...
Giorgio, a young army officer and the very image of male beauty, is being transferred away form his (married) lover Clara and sent to a small garrison somewhere in Piemont. There - initially much to his horror - Fosca, his commander's grotesquely ugly cousin, develops an obsessive love for him. He suffers her passionate and demanding displays of affection out of pity and concern for her health (she is gravely ill), but at the same time becomes increasingly fascinated by her - until the dramatic finale...
Do not miss this most unusual love story, as twisted as it may sound. Read the book, buy the video, go see the musical!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x945fefd8) out of 5 stars 1 review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x94ad0648) out of 5 stars A latecomer romantic gothic novel 6 Feb. 2014
By Federico M. Renon - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
Ugo Iginio Tarchetti had a short life, rather similar to one of his male characters.
As a dashing youngster, angry at old political and social conventions, he volunteered and fought for national independence (not quite in the frontlines though, he was in the Commissariat Corps). He then got disillusioned after witnessing what amounted to a tragic counterinsurgency action by the Italian (northern) Army itself in the Southern provinces of the newly united Kingdom. he resigned and subsequently developed uncompromising antimilitaristic views (expressed in another of his novels "A Noble Madness"), then died of illness in 1869, when he was only 30 years old.
he was one of the main writers of the so called "Scapigliatura", a late-romantic movement of "angry young men", and "Fosca" (his last unfinished work, completed by a close friend shortly after his death) is a good example of a "classic" gothic novel
Giorgio, a young army officer, is torn between two extreme passions, represented by the beautiful, angelical Clara and, on the dark side, Fosca (the two names literally translated in English have just the meaning of "fair" and "sombre" respectively)
Fosca is depicted in ever darker shades as physically ugly (actually, just horribly thin and emaciated), psychically unstable and pathologically empassioned with Giorgio.
As predictable, both love stories end dismally: Clara gives up Giorgio to return to her lawful duties towards family, husband and children; Fosca succumbs at last to consumption, not before having caused a near-deadly duel between Giorgio and her cousin, who is incidentally Giorgio's commanding officer
Alas, predictability seemed to me the key to the whole novel; it is a gothic romantic story fifty years late, after Goethe, Shelley, Poe.
It remains however a valid example of a literary genre which is otherwise rather lacking in 19th century Italian literature (rather Italy seems to have been an ideal set where to stage lots of romantic gothic stories, since Walpole's time).
I can suggest to read, to appreciate what is in my opinion Tarchetti's most outstanding contribution to the literary and social debate of his time, his novel I already mentioned, "A noble madness", where he gave an innovative and prescient outlook towards war and its horrors, anticipating the "war poets" of 1914-18
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