Saturday, February 04, 2006

"The Man in Pyjamas" by Eugenio Montale

On his way down the corridor of a hotel late at night, a guest overhears another guest's anxious voice on the phone in her room. Immediately the unintentional eavesdropper begins to conjecture all sorts of possible scenarios--all that's possible within the space of a couple of pages, that is. Read by Scoot. Time 4:18.

Let's consider this story absurd, since that's how it's categorized in the anthology from which it came (after having first appeared in London Magazine some month, apparently, in the 1960's). The author himself was not so usually absurd, since he was the rather serious translator into Italian of many writers in English, from Shakespeare to Hawthorne, as well as himself. More importantly, Montale was "the most influential Italian poet of the twentieth century," as it says right here in that anthology, and is said to have transformed modern Italian poetry the same way T. S. Eliot transformed English poetry. Who would have ever guessed that from this little scribble of a story?

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