Abstract

The Triestine author Italo Svevo spent a considerable amount of time in London and its environs between 1901 and 1926. His experiences there influenced his modernist writing, including Zeno’s Conscience, his most famous novel. Leonard and Virginia Woolf’s Hogarth Press was the first to publish Svevo’s work in English. His story “The Hoax” marked their first translation from Italian and his short story collection The Nice Old Man and the Pretty Girl and Other Stories their second, helping shape the press’s international modernist program. Despite residing in the same quickly changing city in the same period and despite their literary connections, Svevo and Virginia Woolf have rarely been compared. They have been difficult to envision together in part because their gender, backgrounds, and nationalities separate them. By exploring Woolf’s and Svevo’s shared modernist networks, including London’s influence and Hogarth Press, this article reveals Svevo’s significance as an author who has not easily fit Anglophone paradigms of modernist fiction and whose associations with Woolf contribute to the growing challenges to nation-based literary histories.

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