The Leopard

The Leopard

3.98 (13,846 ratings by Goodreads)

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In the spring of 1860, Fabrizio, the charismatic Prince of Salina, still rules over thousands of acres and hundreds of people, including his own numerous family, in mingled splendour and squalor.Then comes Garibaldi's landing in Sicily and the Prince must decide whether to resist the forces of change or come to terms with more

Product details

  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 128 x 196 x 14mm | 181.44g
  • Vintage Publishing
  • The Harvill Press
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 186046145X
  • 9781860461453
  • 685,334

About Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa was a Sicilian nobleman, Duke of Parma and Prince of Lampedusa. He was born in Palermo in 1896 and died in Rome in 1957. He lived the life of a literary dilettante, was familiar with the great literatures of the world, and was widely travelled. Much of Lampedusa's other work is collected in The Siren and Other Writings (Harvill).show more

Review quote

Every once in a while, like certain golden moments of happiness, infinitely memorable, one stumbles on a book or a writer, and the impact is like an indelible mark. Lampedusa's The Leopard, his only novel, and a masterpiece, is such a work', Independent .'Perhaps the greatest novel of the century', L.P. Hartley, .'One of the great lonely books...not a historical novel, but a novel which happens to take place in history', E.M. Forster, .'The poetry of Lampedusa's novel flows into the Sicilian countryside...a work of great artistry', Peter Ackroyd, .'I was astounded by the power of the writing', Corin Redgrave, .'A great book', Observer .'Few novels in the last ten years have given me so much enjoyment', Sunday Times .'A novel of exceptional stature. One may claim for it classic status', Frank Kermode,show more

Review Text

First published in Britain in 1960 following the death of its author three years before, this classic is now part of the Harvill Panther series. It is the only novel written by the Sicilian nobleman Giuseppe Tomasi, the Prince of Lampedusa, and over the years it has lost none of its power to enchant. The story centres on the Prince of Salina, who is caught between the death of one age and the birth of another. As the book opens in 1860, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies is coming to an end and its last Bourbon king, Francis II, is about to be dethroned. Garibaldi will sail for Sicily with 1,000 volunteers to win the island, and the entire Italian peninsula will become one state for the first time since the Roman Empire fell. Unlike others, the Prince is not opposed to the changes: he is unusual for his time, and his Germanic blood has given rise in him to 'an authoritarian temperament, a certain rigidity of morals and a propensity for abstract ideas'. Far from being an unattractive character, the Prince is the 'big cat' of the title: magnanimous, generous and honourable, if somewhat given to favouritism. As his life unfolds and he watches the progress of his beloved nephew Tancredi and the less charmed existences of his own children, he also watches the fall of his own estate and influence at the hands of men such as Don Sedara, a self-made millionaire. The book is full of acute observation, both impartial and moving. A richly satisfying account of an age and an individual life, full of humanity and humour, it deserves to remain on bookshelves for years to come. (Kirkus UK)show more

Rating details

13,846 ratings
3.98 out of 5 stars
5 37% (5,094)
4 35% (4,816)
3 21% (2,844)
2 6% (798)
1 2% (294)
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