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Let's read "Contempt"­ by Alberto Moravia

A story of a collapsing marriage set against the backdrop of Rome and Capri.

From the introduction to the book by Tim Parks:

“In an interview late in his life, Moravia spoke of Contempt as “one of my best novels, because at once profoundly felt and completely invented” … The genius of Contempt was the creation of a plot that would allow us to explore the complexity [of the relation] in all its contradictions and conundrums – its intense and bewildering emotions – without ever feeling that we have properly understood it…”

“In their different ways, despite opening in a determinedly realist fashion, each of his novels gradually generates an aura of the surreal…”

“Love, in Moravia novels, is almost always something suffered rather than enjoyed… it rarely relieves a gnawing sense of alienation… Yet his work is enlightening. In his combination of obsessive reflection and dreamlike unfolding of plot, he creates a convincing and entirely personal vision of the world which compels us to turn the pages to the end, leaving us afterwards with a mental construct at once so consistent and so elusive that the reader will be brooding over it and reconsidering it for weeks to come. I ask no more of a book.”

Capri I Faraglioni (mentioned in the book).

The protagonist walks up and down a path in the story during his Capri stay. One of those?

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  • Tania

    Thank you, all, for an interesting and lively conversation. I thought later that perhaps it was an underlying condescending contempt of Molteni for Emilia that bread her contempt for him - as one of a multitude of factors... As promised, the book left us "with a mental construct at once so consistent and so elusive that [we might] be brooding over it and reconsidering it for weeks to come"... Didn't it?

    2 days ago

  • Roger C.

    The psychology of this novel may be simpler than it seems. Towards the end of the novel, Emilia fully and clearly explains her contempt for Molteni: “I only know you’re not a man, you don’t behave like a man.” This was Italy in 1954. Everyone at that time and place would have known what she meant (which is that Molteni is not a “macho” man). And, most readers would agree that Molteni is not a strong, successful, confident, or assertive man. Moravia does leave open the possibility that the problem might be more in Molteni’s mind than in Emilia’s mind. But, either way, a key theme is the acute sexual insecurity of a male intellectual just prior to a transitional period in gender relations (the 1960s).

    2 days ago

  • bonnie n.

    Excellent choice for a stimulating evening! A 'compelling' novel. Thank you for a thought-provoking discussion.

    2 days ago

  • Priscilla O.

    really good discussion

    2 days ago

  • Alice

    Are we expected to read the book before tomorrow night??

    4 days ago

    • Tania

      Thank you, Erica. Alice, if you turn on the email notifications for this meetup you should get the announcements with plenty of time to read the book. We try to post them 3-4 weeks or more in advance. Hope to see you next time.

      3 days ago

    • Alice

      Super, OK...thank you both!!

      3 days ago

  • Roger C.

    Hi, I'm forming a new meetup group for people who want to socialize around cultural events. In general, I think the events should be of interest to book lovers. You might consider joining.

    https://www.meetup.com/Montgomery-County-Couples-and-Singles-for-Cultural-Events/

    November 18

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