"CAPTURES THE DELIRIUM AND CRUELTY OF EUROPE IN WWII": FIRST EDITION IN ENGLISH OF MALAPARTE'S CONTROVERSIAL NOVEL, THE SKIN, 1952
MALAPARTE, Curzio. The Skin. London and Sidney: Alvin Redman, (1952). Octavo, original black paper boards, original dust jacket. $950.
First edition in English of "one of the greatest and still-searing literary products of WWII," Italian novelist Malaparte's striking vision of the Allies' liberation of war-torn Naples, a brilliant "fiction about fictions" where lies "actually point to deeper truths," in the original dust jacket.
Malaparte is "one of the most powerful, brilliant, and controversial of the Italian writers of the fascist and post-WW II periods" (Encyclopedia Britannica). Born Kurt Suckert to German-Italian parents, he changed his name to Curzio Malaparte, a pun on Buonaparte, and was early attracted to fascism. Around 1933, however, he "seems to have displeased Mussolini" and was banished. Malaparte was, however, "a talented and highly versatile survivor… [who] saw himself above all as a writer creating a new type of fiction, a species of willfully unreliable reportage in which the most gruesome episodes are recounted with terrifying gaiety" (New Statesman).
The Skin, which "captures the delirium and cruelty of Europe in WWII in surreal and amoral prose," was first published in Italian as La pelle in 1949. It is now viewed as "one of the greatest and still-surprising literary products of WWII." Malaparte's alter ego in the novel tracks the Allies' 1943 liberation of Naples, a city "transformed by defeat into an open-air market of duplicity, prostitution and half-interred bodies, all of it overseen by Americans who in their star-spangled naiveté never completely understand why they are there." To many critics this work, even more than his 1944 novel Kaputt, "is a fiction about fictions," where lies and half-truths "actually point to deeper truths" (Bookforum). "If you want to enter into the delirium and cruelty of the period, it is The Skin you must read" (New Statesman). First edition, first printing: with no statement of editions or printings on the copyright page. First issue dust jacket with printed quotes from European reviews on the verso. With translation from the Italian by David Moore. Basis for the 1981 Italian film, La Pelle, starring Marcello Mastroianni, Burt Lancaster and Claudia Cardinale.
Book fine; a bit of soiling to rear panel of bright about-fine dust jacket.