Cover image for Abecedary
Parise, Goffredo.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Sillabario n. 1. English
First English language edition.
Publication Information:
Marlboro, Vt. : Marlboro Press, [1990]

Physical Description:
147 pages ; 23 cm
General Note:
Translation of: Sillabario n. 1.

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In James Marcus's fluid translation, "Abecedary's" brief and moving vignettes combine a loving attention to the mundane and the everyday--meals and clothing, furniture and phone calls, flashes of landscape or weather--with an abundance of tangible detail, alluding always to that most intangible and fleeting of subjects: human feeling.

Author Notes

Goffredo Parise was born in Italy in 1929. During his lifetime he published over a dozen volumes: novels, collections of stories, and essays. He died in 1986.

James Marcus, a translator, critic, and writer, lives in Seattle.

Natalia Ginzburg is the author of several works including Picolle Virtu ( Little Virtues ) and Famiglia ( Family ). She lives in Italy.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Here is a translation from the Italian of 22 poetic essays by Goffredo Parise. Originally published in Italian as Sillabario N.1, this collection represents the first English-language edition of the work of a little-known poet-essayist. The essays are arranged in alphabetical order, with the integrity of the original order of the Italian edition maintained. Each essay is devoted to a single topic, for example, "Love/Amore" and "Family/Famiglia." Each essay is carefully constructed and is similar in rhythm and subtlety to the rest. Recommended for libraries with large collections of European literature. ~--Jane Jurgens

Publisher's Weekly Review

Parise (1929-1986), recipient of Italy's prestigious Strega and Viareggio prizes, described this poetic collection as a ``reader for beginners, on the sentiments of man.'' The first English-language translation of Sillibario N.1 (1972), Abecedary offers 22 meditations on subjects grouped alphabetically from ``Amore'' (love) and ``Affetto'' (affection), to ``Eleganza'' (elegance) and ``Famiglia'' (family). Each addresses the ineffability of joy--the barely realized moments of human happiness that surface, fleetingly and unexpectedly, then are submerged under the grayness and sadness of daily life. Parise roots these transcendant experiences in settings at once precise and general: ``Bacio'' (kiss), for example, begins, ``One summer day, a fifty-year-old woman with a beautiful Greek name strolled alongside a river, and as she gazed at a field of high grass with poplars at the water's edge, she remembered a kiss.'' Disciplined and profound, Parise achieves throughout the elusive equilibrium between the explicit and the implied. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved