The Leopard, the eponymous hero of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa's novel, resembles his creator—an erudite aristocrat who faced his declining fortunes with razor-sharp irony.
by GUISEPPE DI LAMPEDUSA
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At the time of his premature death, in 1957, at the age of sixty, only a handful of people knew that Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa had written a novel. They included his wife, Licy, a Latvian-born psychoanalyst; his recently adopted heir, Gioacchino Lanza Tomasi; his cousin, Lucio Piccolo, a prizewinning, late-blooming poet; and a few other close friends and relatives.
Most of Lampedusa's intimate friends were in fact relatives of one sort or another—even Licy was the stepdaughter of one of his uncles. Whether this lack of interest in outsiders was due to inherent shyness, aristocratic hauteur, Sicilian clannishness, or some other combination of factors is finally unknowable. All that can be said with certainty is that, for most of his life, the last Prince of Lampedusa led a strange and solitary existence. Even
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