9+ quotes from The Garden of the Finzi-Continis by Giorgio Bassani

Quotes from The Garden of the Finzi-Continis

Giorgio Bassani ·  246 pages

Rating: (4.8K votes)


“In life, if one wants seriously to understand how the world works, he must die at least once.”
― Giorgio Bassani, quote from The Garden of the Finzi-Continis


“Even in a city as small as Ferrara, you can manage, if you like, to disappear for years and years, one from another, living side by side like the dead”
― Giorgio Bassani, quote from The Garden of the Finzi-Continis


“How many years have passed since that far-off June afternoon? More than thirty. And yet, if I close my eyes, Micòl Finzi-Contini is still there, leaning over her garden wall, looking at me and talking to me. In 1929 Micòl was little more than a child, a thin, blond thirteen-year old with large, clear, magnetic eyes. And I was a boy in short trousers, very bourgeois and very vain, whom a small academic setback was sufficient to cast down into the most childish desperation. We both fixed our eyes on each other. Above her head the sky was a compact blue, a warm already summer sky without the slightest cloud. Nothing, it seemed, would be able to alter it, and nothing indeed has altered it, at least in memory.”
― Giorgio Bassani, quote from The Garden of the Finzi-Continis


“   'You said we were exactly alike,' I spoke again. 'In what way?'
   But yes, yes we are — she exclaimed —in the way, like you, I've no access to that instinctive enjoyment of things that's typical of normal people. She could sense it very clearly: for me, no less than for her, the past counted far more than the present, remembering something far more than possessing it. Compared to memory, every possession can only ever seem disappointing, banal, inadequate...She understood me so well! My anxiety that the present 'immediately' turned into the past so that I could love it and dream about it at leisure was just like hers, was identical. It was 'our' vice, this: to go forwards with our heads forever turned back.”
― Giorgio Bassani, quote from The Garden of the Finzi-Continis


“Tenendosi a braccetto, alcune ragazze formavano a volte delle catene tutte femminili di cinque o sei. Strane, mi dicevo, guardandole. Nell'attimo che le incrociavamo, scrutavano attraverso i cristalli coi loro occhi ridenti, nei quali la curiosità si mescolava a una specie di bizzarro orgoglio, di disprezzo appena simulato. Davvero strane. Belle e Libere.”
― Giorgio Bassani, quote from The Garden of the Finzi-Continis


“If only I'd done it then, when I should have, everything would have been easy. What a joke.”
― Giorgio Bassani, quote from The Garden of the Finzi-Continis


“   That night I spent in turmoil. Fitfully, I slept, I woke up, I slept again, and every time I slept I kept on dreaming of Micòl.
   I dreamt, for example, of finding myself, just like that very first day I set foot in the garden, watching her play tennis with Alberto. Even in the dream I never took my eyes off her for a second. I kept on telling myself how wonderful she was, flushed and covered with sweat, with that frown of almost fierce concentration that divided her forehead, all tensed up as she was with the effort to beat her smiling, slightly bored and sluggish older brother. Yet then I felt oppressed by an uneasiness, an embittered feeling, an almost unbearable ache.”
― Giorgio Bassani, quote from The Garden of the Finzi-Continis


“One of the most odious forms of anti-Semitism was precisely this: to complain that Jews aren't sufficiently like other people, and then, the opposite, once they've become almost totally assimilated with their surroundings, to complain that they're just like everybody else, not even a fraction distinguished from the average.”
― Giorgio Bassani, quote from The Garden of the Finzi-Continis


“She just kept on criticizing me, but for contradictory reasons.”
― Giorgio Bassani, quote from The Garden of the Finzi-Continis


About the author

Giorgio Bassani
Born place: in Bologna, Italy
Born date March 4, 1916
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