Apart from the work of three celebrated writers—Italo Calvino, Primo Levi, and Umberto Eco—what do most of us know about contemporary Italian fiction, about its trends, its techniques, its obsessions? Name and Tears, a collection of short stories edited and translated by Kathrine Jason, is an ambitious attempt to fill us in. Jason tells us in her introduction that hers “is the first anthology of Italian fiction to appear in twenty years.” For this reason

I wanted to present an overview of the period between 1945-1985. My basic premises for inclusion of stories were these: first, to include those writers whose contributions have been considered of major importance; secondly, to choose stories that have not appeared previously in English translation; and finally, to favor recent work, especially in the case of older writers, like Moravia, whose careers may span more than five...

 

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