Zeno’s Conscience (unabridged)

Audio Sample

Italo Svevo

Zeno’s Conscience

Confessions of Zeno

Read by Sean Barrett


Known for inspiring James Joyce’s Leopold Bloom in Ulysses, Zeno Cosini is the bumbling yet charming alter ego of Italo Svevo, who here lays bare a hilarious litany of neuroticisms about his health, friendships, family and women. Having submitted himself to Freudian psychoanalysis, the narrator keeps a diary with the aim of conquering his addiction to smoking. He describes his marriage to the woman he didn’t want to marry, how he drives his business partner to despair, and how his ‘last cigarette’ turns out to be one of many. Zeno is the classic ‘schlemiel’; his erratic foibles, his questionable logic and his curious inclination to self sabotage help shine a light on human behaviour in general, and reveal the many subtle half-truths people may tell themselves in order to defend their own actions and egos.

  • Running Time: 17 h 17 m

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    More product details
    Digital ISBN:978-1-78198-220-4
    Cat. no.:NA0349
    Download size:391 MB
    Produced by:Neil Rosser
    Edited by:Sarah Butcher
    Text:© 2001 Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House Inc.
    Translated by:William Weaver
    Released:November 2019
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Zeno Corsini’s psychiatrist has encouraged him to write about his thoughts and feelings. Narrator Sean Barrett captures all the inwardness and intimacy of that writing in his admirable performance of this modernist classic. His subtly inflected accent gives a continental nuance to his speech, perhaps reflecting the dialect of Zeno’s native Trieste. Barrett’s voice is charcoal gray in tone and pleasantly gravelly, his expression well suited to the sense and feel of the character: weak, amiable, self-deluding, self-justifying, undependable, venal. Barrett takes him at his own, perhaps dishonest, estimation, recounting his stories, his self-examinations, and his long monologues seriously — but not too seriously. He delivers Zeno’s history of himself as Zeno might in a subtle and skilled performance of this ambiguous fiction.

W.M., AudioFile

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