Federigo Tozzi

Federigo Tozzi

Federigo Tozzi (1883–1920) was a realist writer, a follower of Gabriel D’Annunzio and Giovanni Verga, and was himself a major influence on Alberto Moravia, who held his work in the highest regard. In twelve years, he wrote 120 short stories, five novels, two books of poetry, as well as plays, many essays, and piles of drafts, notes, and letters. He died suddenly of the Spanish flu.

Love In Vain

Fiction by Federigo Tozzi

The twenty stories in Love in Vain were selected and translated by Minna Proctor, who received the 1998 PEN/Renato Poggioli Award for her then unpublished renderings of Federigo Tozzi’s fiction. Tozzi (1883-1920), a follower of Gabriele D’Annunzio and Giovanni Verga, was encouraged by Luigi Pirandello and was himself a major influence on Alberto Moravia, who held him in the highest regard. The 1919-20 Spanish flu epidemic cut short his successful, prolific career, and for fifty years Tozzi was virtually ignored.…
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Federigo Tozzi’s beautiful, strange love stories hover at the abyss, where reason meets unreason and loses. Tozzi must be the poet of abjection, a poet of the unconscious. His perplexing tales reflect on self-conscious characters caught in love’s, and their own, absurdly needy net. They comment, too, on the moment when ideas were changing, sensibilities shifting, and his characters move, resistant and confused, from the Victorian into the modern. Translator Minna Proctor has done a wonderful job of realizing these startling stories in English and bringing them to us for the first time.

—Lynne Tillman, author of No Lease on Life

Federigo Tozzi, Italy’s forgotten master of the short story, is a real discovery. I was delighted by the compassion and insight of Love in Vain, by its unflinching and subtle dissection of humankind’s most private moments. How can such a powerful writer have slipped through the net and for so long? Now, thanks to Minna Proctor’s elegant and equally subtle translations, it is unlikely that Tozzi will be forgotten again.

—Jim Crace, author of Being Dead

Ardent, impetuous, crackling with nerve-energies, Federigo Tozzi insists on his uniqueness. Minna Proctor has brought this full-throttle sensibility into English without a flinch or a fidget.

—Sven Birkerts, author of Readings
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