Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Landolfi, Tommaso

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(1908-1979) Italian writer of sf interest for Cancroregina (coll 1950; trans Jack Murphy as "Cancroregina" 1950 Botteghe Oscure; new trans Raymond Rosenthal in Cancerqueen and Other Stories 1971 US), in which a mad astronaut is imprisoned in a living starship, and finds – not surprisingly, from an author much influenced by Edgar Allan Poe, Nikolai Gogol (whom he translated into Italian) and Franz Kafka – that the grotesque world in which he is imprisoned is all he will ever get. Most of TL's fantasy was assembled in Dialogo dei massimi sistemi ["Dialogue Concerning the Chief World Systems"] (coll 1937), Il mar delle blatte ["The Sea of Roaches"] (coll 1939) and Le Labrene ["The 'Lipzards'"] (coll 1974). Many of these tales are fantasies in the same sense that Gogol and Kafka wrote fantasies; translated tales are assembled in Cancerqueen and Other Stories and Gogol's Wife and Other Stories (coll trans Raymond Rosenthal, John Longrigg and Wayland Young 1963 US); the best presentation of his work is probably that posthumously edited by Italo Calvino, La più belle pagine di Tommasso Landolfi ["The Very Best Pages of Tommasso Landolfi"] (coll 1982; cut trans Kathrine Jason as Words in Commotion and Other Stories 1986 US). Throughout, a vertigo of real and threatened Metamorphosis, rendered without the safety net of fantasy conventions, constantly reminds readers that TL is a dangerous, enticing Modernist. [JC/CP]

Tommaso Landolfi


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.