Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

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Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, Džuzepe Tomazi di Lampedūza (lv)
Nobleman, landlord, Writer
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Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa (December 23, 1896 – July 23, 1957), was a Sicilian writer. He is most famous for his only novel, Il Gattopardo (first published posthumously in 1958, translated as The Leopard) which is set in Sicily during the Risorgimento.

A taciturn and solitary man, he passed a great deal of his time reading and meditating, and used to say of himself, "I was a boy who liked solitude, who preferred the company of things to that of people."

In Riga, Latvia, in 1932, he married Alexandra Wolff von Stomersee, nicknamed "Licy", a Baltic German noblewoman and a student of psychoanalysis. The marriage ceremony was celebrated in an Orthodox Church. They first lived with di Lampedusa's mother in Palermo, but soon the incompatibility between the two women drove Licy back to Latvia.

The Castle of Tomasi di Lampedusa

In 1934 his father died and he inherited his princely title. He was briefly called back to arms in 1940, but, as head of a hereditary agricultural plantation, was soon sent back home to take care of its affairs. He and his mother ultimately took refuge in Capo d'Orlando, where he was reunited with Licy; they survived the war, but their palace in Palermo did not.

After his mother died in 1946, di Lampedusa returned to live with his wife in Palermo.

In 1953 he began to spend time with a group of young intellectuals, one of whom was Gioacchino Lanza Tomasi, a cousin, with whom he developed such a close relationship that, the following year, he legally adopted him.

Tomasi di Lampedusa was often the guest of his cousin, the poet Lucio Piccolo, with whom he travelled in 1954 to San Pellegrino Terme to attend a literary awards ceremony, where he met, among others, Eugenio Montale and Maria Bellonci. It is said that it was upon returning from this trip that he commenced writing Il Gattopardo (The Leopard), which was finished in 1956. During his life, the novel was rejected by the two publishers to whom Tomasi submitted it.

In 1957 Tomasi di Lampedusa was diagnosed with lung cancer; he died on July 23 in Rome. Following a requiem in the Basilica del Sacro Cuore di Gesu in Rome, he was buried in the Capuchin cemetery of Palermo. His novel was published the year after his death; Elena Croce had sent it to the writer Giorgio Bassani, who brought it to the attention of the Feltrinelli publishing house. Il Gattopardo was quickly recognized as a great work of contemporary Italian literature.

In 1959 Tomasi di Lampedusa was posthumously awarded the prestigious Strega Prize for the novel.


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        Relation nameRelation typeBirth DateDeath dateDescription
        1Alexandra von Wolff-StomerseeAlexandra von Wolff-StomerseeWife13.11.189422.06.1982
        2Boriss fon VolfsBoriss fon VolfsFather in-law05.10.185010.03.1917
        3Alice BarbiAlice BarbiMother in-law01.06.185804.09.1948
        4Sofija CepelīnaSofija CepelīnaDistant relative16.09.184028.10.1919
        5Izabella Konstance Elizabete Klementīne fon CepelīnaIzabella Konstance Elizabete Klementīne fon CepelīnaDistant relative00.00.184600.00.1922
        6Ferdinand von ZeppelinFerdinand von ZeppelinDistant relative08.07.183808.03.1917

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