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July 23, 1965 - Image 20

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1965-07-23

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
20—Friday, July 23, 1965

Giorgio Bassani's Newest Narrative,
Yolanda Ann Cohen
`The Garden of the Finzi-Continis' Has Marries New Yorker
Impressive, Poetic Jewish Theme

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Giorgio Bassani attracted wide
attention with his previous works.
His novel "The Gold-Rimmed Spec-
tacles" was among the narrative
gems in 1960. His other books have
placed him among the highest
ranking writers.
Now we are being treated to
one of the most moving stories in
his newest work, "The Garden of
the Finzi-Continis," published by
Atheneum (162 E. 38th, NY 16).

The excellence of this narra-
tive lies primarily in its brillant
literary style. It is a magnificent
work, and the beauty of its com-
position is so impressive that
the reader, once he had com-
menced, will find it impossible
to stop. It is romantic, poetic,
and in its very simplicity it has
power unmatched in novel-writ-
ing.

The story is told in the first
person, and the narrator relates
his experiences with the Finzi-Con-
tinis. It is with the pretty Micol
that the story teller is primarily
concerned. He becomes a constant
visitor at the Finzi-Contini home.
It was Micol who attracted him,
and his interest in her continued
until his father warned him of
possible dire consequence s.
"They're different . . . they don't
even seem like judim . . . because
she was above us socially . . .
The proverb says: 'wife and oxen
from your own village.' And, in
spite of appearancesjhat girl isn't
from your own village. Not in the
least, she isn't."
They had met in the synagogue
in the Italian city of Ferrara. They
had a common interest—and the
restrictions on Jews had begun,
the group that began to socialize
having been driven out of the city's
tennis club. But they weren't the
same. The reader senses an at-
tempt at hiding on the part of
the socially-higher Finzi-Continis.

Indeed, in the sense of Fas-
cist-influenced condition s, be-
cause the entire novel is af-
fected by the horrors that were
developing at the time, it be- •
comes a Jewish novel, in spite
of the fact that it is only in
minute details permeated with
Jewish references. But there are
enough of them to turn it into
a major part of the literature
that is linked with the period
of destruction under Nazi-Fas-
cist rule.

The Finzi-Continis all end up in
death camps. Micol's brother, Al-
berto, who brought the narrator
into the Finzi-Contini estate for
regular sessions, for study -under
his professional gather, for tennis
games, for sociability, died of an
incurable illness. It was he who
was the vehicle for the story-teller
to co-me close to Micol, only to be
rejected.

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Jewish factors p er mate the
story. There are enough of them
to emphasize the tragedy of the
holocaust as Italy was to share in
its horrors. There are other ma-
jor characters, and through them
the politics of the Mussolini period
also plays a role.
Describing the novel, the emin-
ent author of "The Italians," Luigi
Barzini stated:

"Bassani's novel is a landmark
in Italian contemporary litera-
ture: it is at the same time a
tender and elegiac love story
and a grandiose tragedy, a tour
de force. The memory of the
girl Micol will haunt romantic
young men for years to come.
Nothing that I know has ever
been written so delicately and
searchingly about the life of the
professional and cultural elite
of the Jews in Italy, who boast
of 'having arrived here long be-
fore Christ was born,' when
faced with the unbelievable ne-
cessity to defend themselves
from extinction. Only Bassani
has written as well about an-
cient Ferrara, the mist-wreathed
city at the mouth of the Po, the
old seat of the Great Este fam-
ily, where a particular taste for
beauty, culture, art, loving was
slowly developed and preserv-
ed."
He did not exaggerate. In an

excellent translation from the
Italian by Isabel Quigly, there is
a great treat in "The Garden of
the Finzi-Continis." It must be
rated among the very best novels
of the year.

Jewish Press Editor
Wins Suit Against
California Rabbi

LOS ANGELES—A Beverly Hills
rabbi lost for the second time a
libel suit brought against him by
the publisher of the California
Jewish Press.
Rabbi Simon A. Dolgin of Beth
Jacob Orthodox congregation was
ordered to pay $3,000 in damages
for accusing the publisher, Lee
Soble, of aiding the conversion of
Jews to Christianity by printing
Christian missionary advertising.
The verdict also was returned
against the California Jewish News
Publications, Inc., a competing pa-
per, for printing on its front page
"an open letter to the community
by Rabbi Dolgin."
In that letter, which Rabbi
Dolgin insisted at the trial was not
meant for publication, he urged
the community to cease reading
Soble's paper and to protest'to its
advertisers.
In June 1964, Soble won a $40,-
000 judgment against the defend-
ants, but a motion for a new trial
was granted by the judge due to
technical errors on the part of the
jury.

MRS. KENNETH SIMON

Max J. Pincus Heads
Israel Art Exhibit
Patrons' Committee

Max J. Pincus has been appointed
chairman of the patron's committee
for the Israel art
exhibit to be held
at the Detroit In-
stitute of Arts,
Sept. 7 - Oct. 3.
Milton J. Miller
a n d Stanley J.
Winkelman a r e
co - chairman o f
the committee.
The exhibit of
contemporary art
by 26 Israeli
painters and
sculptors was as-
hembled by the
curator of the
Museum of Mod-
ern Art under the
Pincus
auspices of the
American Israel Cultural Founda-
tion. It is on tour of the major
cities in the United States and Can-
ada.
The American Israel Cultural
Foundation is a beneficiary agency
of the Allied Jewish Campaign.

In a recent ceremony, Yolanda
Ann Cohen, daughter of Dr. and
Mrs. Herbert H. Cohen of Ches-
terfield Road, was married to
Kenneth W. Simon, son of Mr.
and Mrs. Justin Simon of Wood-
mere, N.Y. The ceremony was
performed by Rabbi Jacob Segal
at Imperial Caterers.
Thy friend has a friend, and thy
The bride wore an Empire-line
gown of Irish linen embroidered friend's friend has a friend; be
in Alencon lace, with a detachable discreet. —the Talmud
Camelot train. Her veil of French ■

0■

■ ■
illusion was attached to a halo
cap. She carried a bouquet of Maj-
TRADITION! TRADITION!
estic daisies.
Brenda Kershenbaum, the
bride's sister, was the matron of
honor. The best man was John
Wright of Ann Arbor.
After a honeymoon in northern
MOVIES, SINCE 1946
Michigan, the young 'couple will
reside in Chicago.
WEDDINGS • BAR MITZVAHS I
He who will not reason, is a
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William Drummond.

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