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Italo Svevo


Italo Svevo was born Ettore Schmitz in Trieste in 1861. His father was a successful businessman. Svevo was one of sixteen children, though only eight of the children (including Svevo) survived into adulthood. When he was twelve his father sent him to study in Germany where he became fluent in German. While there he also became interested in socialism. He returned to Trieste when he was seventeen where he enrolled in business school. He had to leave the following year, when his father had a financial setback, and he went to work in a bank. He started writing while working at the bank and published many articles in the Indipendente newspaper. He published his first novel in 1892 (the year his father died) at his own expense but it was completely ignored by the critics as was his second novel, Senilità (As a Man Grows Older).

Svevo eventually left the bank to work for his wife’s family’s firm. His work involved travel, including to England, and he took courses in English at the Berlitz School in Trieste, where James Joyce became his teacher, though they tended to talk more about literature than study English. They read each other’s works and gave each other mutual encouragement. It was Joyce who helped get recognition for La coscienza di Zeno (Confessions of Zeno; Zeno’s Conscience). Svevo was planning to write a sequel to La coscienza di Zeno (Confessions of Zeno; Zeno’s Conscience) when he was involved in a car accident in 1928. Though his injuries were minor, he had a heart attack which killed him. He will remembered for being one of the first Italian experimental writers and for creating a small but significant body of work.

Other links

Italo Svevo
Plaque on house where lived in England
Italo Svevo (in Italian)
Italo Svevo (in Italian)
a href=”http://biografieonline.it/biografia.htm?BioID=1315&biografia=Italo+Svevo” target=” -blank” rel=”noopener”>Italo Svevo (in Italian)
Italo Svevo (in Italian)
Italo Svevo (in Italian)
Italo Svevo (in Italian)
Italo Svevo (1861-1928) (in Italian)
Italo Svevo e l’anima ebraica (in Italian)
Texts of his works (in Italian)


1892 Una vita (A Life)
1898 Senilità (As a Man Grows Older)
1923 La coscienza di Zeno (Confessions of Zeno; Zeno’s Conscience)
1928 Una burla riuscita (The Hoax)
1929 La novella del buon vecchio e della bella fanciulla e altri scritti (The Nice Old Man and the Pretty Girl and Other Stories)
1932 Il ladro in casa: scene della vita borghese
1946 Orazio Cima
1949 Corto viaggio sentimentale e altri racconti inediti (Short Sentimental Journey and Other Stories)
1950 James Joyce (James Joyce)
1954 Saggi e pagine sparse
1956 Oggi farai del bene
1960 Commedie
1962 Diario per la fidanzata
1963 Tutte le opere
1967 Due racconti
1968 Teatro
1969 Further Confessions of Zeno (it isn’t but contains various bits and pieces he left behind)
1986 Scritti su Joyce
1987 Il vegliardo
1987 Zeno: La coscienza di Zeno, La rigenerazione, Racconti e altri testi
1989 La rigenerazione (Regeneration)
1990 L’assassinio di via Belpoggio e altri racconti
1991 Argo e il suo padrone e altri racconti
1991 Vino generoso e altri racconti
1993 La Madre (The Mother)
1994 Noi del tramway di Servola
1995 Il mio ozio e altri racconti
1995 Il malocchio ed altre storie
1995 Corto viaggio sentimentale e altre novelle
1996 Favole: uomini e bestie
1999 Del piacere e del vizio di fumare
2003 È tanto differente quest’Inghilterra …: gli scritti londinesi di Italo Svevo (“This England is So Different–“: Italo Svevo’s London Writings)
2004 Racconti e scritti autobiografici (part of Tutte le opere)
2004 Romanzi e continuazioni (part of Tutte le opere)
2004 Teatro e saggi (part of Tutte le opere)
2004 Racconti di Murano e altri racconti
2022 Very Old Man (stories)