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Where Are They Now? - David Leavitt

Agosto 2013
Il suo primo romanzo, Ballo di famiglia, fu un successo clamoroso in Italia nel 1984. Lo stile di David Leavitt fu definito ‘minimalista’, e in questa corrente si inserirono poi altri giovani autori come Tama Janowitz e Bret Easton Ellis. Oggi tutti sulla cinquantina...

di Alastair Peel

File audio:

David Leavitt
David Leavitt

Speaker: Chuck Rolando (Standard American accent)

Almost 30 years ago a young American called David Leavitt became a literary star. Today he is in his 50s and he is balding, but he is still doing what he has always done: writing books.

FAMILY DANCING

David Leavitt was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the same city as Andy Warhol, on June 23rd, 1961. His family moved to California when his father got a job teaching at Stanford Business School.  David grew up “on campus” and later attended another prestigious university, Yale, in Connecticut. After graduating he moved to New York, where he worked for a publishing company, Viking Penguin Books. But he published his first book when he was 23 and became a full-time writer. The book was Family Dancing, a collection of short stories.

THE BIG TIME

In November 1984 The New York Times  interviewed David Leavitt: this is something that never happens for many writers. He told the interviewer that he liked to write about “scary” subjects like “homosexuality and divided families.”  David was gay, which was more of a taboo in the 1980s than it is today. Many years later he told Speak Up that “I don’t like the term ‘gay writer.’ I am a writer who happens to be gay. I prefer the way the Italians say it, ‘scrittore gay,’ with the word ‘gay’ after the word ‘writer’ and not before!”

REPUTATION

David Leavitt’s literary reputation continued to grow with two novels, The Lost Language of Cranes in 1986 and Equal Affections in 1989. But the 1990s were more problematic. In 1993 he published the novel While England Sleeps. A famous old English poet, Stephen Spender, accused Leavitt of plagiarising his 1948 memoir, World Within World. The publishers withdrew While England Sleeps. A different version was published in 1995, when Spender died. Some people say that Leavitt’s reputation has never recovered, but this isn’t really true. Later this year he will publish his eighth novel, The Two Hotel Francforts.


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Explains

He is balding. Sta perdendo i capelli. La parola bald significa “calvo” ma se un uomo sta diventando calvo si dice he is balding.

Connecticut. La lettera c prima della t è muta, cosa che non avviene nel caso della parola connect. In realtà il nome Connecticut è indiano (Quinetucket) e non c’entra con la parola connect.

Scrittore gay.
Può sembrare strano vedere una frase italiana in un testo inglese. Sono pochissimi gli anglofoni che parlano italiano ma David Leavitt è un’eccezione essendo un grande amante dell’Italia. Ha perfino una casa in Maremma.