The Penguin Book of Italian Short Stories

The Penguin Book of Italian Short Stories

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Introduction by Jhumpa Lahiri
Edited by Jhumpa Lahiri

A landmark collection of stories-nearly half appearing in English for the first time–selected and introduced by Pulitzer Prize winner Jhumpa Lahiri

A Penguin Classic

When Jhumpa Lahiri decided to read exclusively in Italian, a language she had studied for many years, her life as a reader–and writer–took a surprising turn. Complete immersion in this rich literary heritage brought fresh insight and
unexpected freedom.

This collection brings together forty writers who have shaped her love of the Italian language and profound appreciation for its literature. More than half of the stories featured in this volume have been translated into English for the first time, and the wide-ranging selection includes well-known authors such as Italo Calvino, Elsa Morante, and Luigi Pirandello alongside many captivating rediscoveries.

Poets, journalists, visual artists, musicians, editors, critics, teachers, scientists, politicians, translators: the writers that inhabit these pages represent a dynamic cross-section of Italian society. Together they reflect more than a hundred years of Italy’s vibrant and diverse short-story tradition, their powerful voices resonating through regional landscapes, private passions, and the dramatic political events of the twentieth century.


Introduction by Jhumpa Lahiri
A Note on the Citation of Titles and Their Translations

• “Names and Tears” by Elio Vittorini
• “Picturesque Lives” by Giovanni Verga
• “The Siren” by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
• “Against Time” by Antonio Tabucchi
• “Generous Wine” by Italo Svevo
• “The Long Voyage” by Leonardo Sciasci
• “Bago” by Alberto Savinio
• “The Hen” by Umberto Saba
• “The Lady” by Lalla Romano
• “The Tower” by Fabrizia Ramondino
• “The Trap” by Luigi Pirandello
• “Wedding Trip” by Cesare Pavese
• “Melancholy” by Goffredo Parise
• “Silence” by Aldo Palazzeschi
• “A Pair of Eye/glasses” by Anna Maria Ortese
• “The Other Side of the Moon” by Alberto Moravia
• “The Ambitious Ones” by Elsa Morante
• “Sixteen, Twenty-one, Twenty-eight and Thirty-seven” from Centuria by Giorgio Manganelli
• “Quaestio de Centauris” by Primo Levi
• “Gogol’s Wife” by Tommaso Landolfi
• “My Husband” by Natalia Ginzburg
• “The Mother” by Carlo Emilio Gadda
• “A Martian in Rome” by Ennio Flaiano
• “The Smell of Death” by Beppe Fenoglio
• “Life as a Couple” by Luce D’Eramo
• “The Milliner” by Antonio Delfini
• “The Hind” by Grazia Deledda
• “Invitation to Dinner” by Alba de Céspedes
• “Elegy for Signora Nodier” by Silvio D’Arzo
• “Malpasso” by Fausta Cialente
• “At the Station” by Carlo Cassola
• “The Golden Nut” by Cristina Campo
• “Dialogue with a Tortoise” by Italo Calvino
• “And Yet They Are Knocking at Your Door” by Dino Buzzati
• “The Miraculous Beach, or, Prize for Modesty” by Massimo Bontempelli
• “A Geographical Error” by Romano Bilenchi
• “The Streetwalker” by Luciano Bianciardi
• “Miss” by Anna Banti
• “The Baboon” by Giovanni Arpino
• “Barefoot” by Corrado Alvaro

Further Reading
About the Translators

Published by Penguin Classics
Sep 10, 2019
528 Pages
6 x 9-1/4
ISBN 9780241299838

© Penguin Random House