Corporal (Corporale) by Paolo Volponi

The Untranslated

I boughCorporalet Paolo Volponi’s novel in Rome as a souvenir during my brief stay in that incredibly beautiful city this July. I gave it preference over the selfie sticks, cheap Colosseum replicas, and t-shirts with provocative slogans. Corporal has a reputation of a difficult book, and when it is mentioned in different overviews of modern Italian literature the word “experimental” is invariably attached to it. Alberto Moravia held this work in high regard, writing that “Corporal is an almost impressionistic recovery of magma in which a man incapable of relations with the world moves, and here emerges the extraordinary quality of Volponi as a writer”. These words have become the staple blurb for the novel which is rarely read, has not been widely translated (there is only French translation to the best of my knowledge), and has a nasty habit of regularly going out of print. Now that I’ve read it, I can…

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