Roman Tales, by Alberto Moravia
When Alberto Moravia’s complete works were put on the Index in 1952, a close friend and literary colleague visited Moravia and jokingly told him that he had better pack up and leave the country, since now at last he was officially out in the cold. Moravia replied: “I’ve always been there. In fact, I’m so far outside that I’m more deeply inside than all the rest of you.”
This anecdote is worth recounting, not only because it points up Moravia’s acute self-awareness—from the inception of his career he has been, for the Italians, an irregular, a provoker of scandals, though at the same time (perhaps just because of this) he has progressed inexorably to the position of their most widely read serious writer—but also because it helps shed some light on the vogue which his novels and short stories now enjoy abroad, particularly in the cosmopolitan centers where artistic reputations are made and destroyed in our day.
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