The ends of an empire: Pier antonio quarantotti gambini's il cavallo Tripoli and joseph roth's radetzkymarsch

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Copyright © 2015 The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA. Italian Triestine literature tends to be seen as somewhat foreign to the Italian literary tradition and linguistically outside of Austrian (or Austro-Hungarian) literature. Instead of leaving it as "neither nor," viewing it as "both and" can help shape the critical view of the Italian literary landscape, as well as add to the picture of Austro-Hungarian literature. Joseph Roth's Radetzkymarsch (Radetzky March) and Pier Antonio Quarantotti Gambini's novel Il cavallo Tripoli (The Horse Tripoli) depict the experience of loss brought on by the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in similar ways, although they do so from different linguistic and national sides. However, the writings of the Italian author are generally categorized as representing a pro-Italian perspective and those of the Austrian as pro-Austro-Hungarian. This article argues that their novels provide a more nuanced portrayal of the world and identities than just their nationalities or political views do. Because of assumptions about the authors, the complexity of the novels' representations of layered linguistic and cultural interactions have often been missed, especially those of Il cavallo Tripoli. This comparison provides a case of how engaging Austro- Hungarian work can benefit the critical understanding of Italian literature.








Saskia Ziolkowski

Associate Professor of Romance Studies


I work on Italian literature and culture from a comparative perspective, especially in terms of the connections between Italy and German-language countries. My research topics include modernism, the novel, animal studies, world literature, Jewish studies, migration, literary history, and issues of identity. My book Kafka’s Italian Progeny (University of Toronto Press, awarded the American Association of Italian Studies 2020 Book Prize in Literary Studies) explores Franz Kafka’s sometimes surprising connections with key writers — from Massimo Bontempelli, Lalla Romano, and Italo Calvino to Antonio Tabucchi, Paola Capriolo, and Elena Ferrante — who have shaped Italy’s literary landscape. I am currently working on a monograph on  Jewishness in modern Italian literature and co-directing the Global Jewish Modernism Lab with Kata Gellen.

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