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Contempt (New York Review Books Classics) Paperback – July 31, 2004
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Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
— The New York Times
Moravia remains one of the twentieth century’s smoothest and most entertaining poets of paralysis, of the genial ennui generated by the triumph of materialism over humane values…his novels offer a bracing counterpoint to today’s soft-hearted and -headed fiction.
— Boston Review
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Top Customer Reviews
Many see Moravia's novel as the quintessential example of "modernism," the movement that emphasizes the human limitation for self-understanding and the understanding of others. Also, the novel explores Freudian themes of projection, paranoia, and the powers of the unconscious.
The novel is fast-paced save for a few chapters where the writer and director indulge in long-winded discussions about the mythical exposition of their film but overall the novel is a real page-turner full of suspense and psychological realism.
If you enjoy this suspensful novel told from the point of view of an unreliable narrator, I recommend Asylum by Patrick McGrath, Despair by Vladimir Nabokov, and The Horned Man by James Lasdun.
What a strange and engrossing tale. So normal in appearance. A man starts out thinking he has a noble profession as a critic but poverty has limitations. How hard to admit selling out one for the other. Why not elevate the goal to a higher nobility. Surely I am doing this for my wife Emelia! A screenplay is only for pay so it must be done for Emelia.
Ricccardo Molteni is a narcissist, delusional, selfish, probably a bit insane, obsessive and manic. He is intelligent and thoughtful and brutish, always a chauvinist and given to fits of depression and unnatural euphoria. He is dangerous even to the reader.
As told in the first person it's a neat trick to keep us reading and believing in Molteni. His character gets under your skin. Brilliantly the writer lets this most unreliable narrator carry us through his life. Is he going to write that screenplay to bring Homer's Odyssey to the big screen? Why doesn't his wife love him? Is he dominating her or just being helpful with that menu? What is wrong with her? It must be her fault. If only she'd reveal the root of it so that he can carry on. Denial of his own culpability is everywhere and yet subtly woven into the contradictions between his seemingly sensitive and warm thoughts and his more acute actions out of need to defend his self esteem.
And what about that screenplay? Is Ulysses avoiding his wife Penelope? Is that why it takes 10 long years to return home. Is the Director Reingold somehow mocking him by creating a Ulysses that's weak and fearful of his wife? Is there a similarity in his own life? Maybe but it's wickedly derivative.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Story of a modern Ulysses. The way of seeing women very dated though an interesting and in its way a intriguing story.Published 7 months ago by Angela G
Having read Alberto Moravia previously, I had come to expect this read to be as brutal, clinical and written simply in only those words such gut breaking emotions can be... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Sekar Ganesan
A telling novel of a marriage gone horribly wrong, of lines of communication closed and the inability to reconnect. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Cphe
Alberto Moravia is a favorite author and his novel Contempt is one of his best. I've read it at least six times. Ricardo Molteni suspects his wife, Emilia, no longer loves him. Read morePublished 10 months ago by JK
Having read this book several times over a period of some 40 years (my first copy was a paperback entitled "A Ghost At Noon") I find that each reading brings a new level of... Read morePublished 16 months ago by propertius
I almost gave this four stars, but it was the ending, in all of its enigmatic nuance, that drove me to grasp the genius behind this painstaking novel. Read morePublished 23 months ago by The Significant Pseudonym
Moravia is a masterful Italian author, and 'Contempt,' is one of his best novels. Moravia's exploration of sexuality, social alienation, and existentialism gives them a very timely... Read morePublished on December 11, 2012 by JMV
There are so many aspects of a novel that must come together for it to work - far to many to mention here. Read morePublished on October 20, 2012 by Bryan Byrd
To me, Contempt is the perfect response to everybody who insists that the patriarchy invariably benefits all men and hurts all women. Read morePublished on June 2, 2012 by Clarissa's Blog