The Nice Old Man and the Pretty Girl
Part of The Art of the Novella
“The sin of an old man is equal to about two sins of a young man.”
The fable-like story of an old man’s sexual obsession with a young woman is a distillation of Italo Svevo’s concerns–attraction of an older man to a younger woman, individual conscience versus social convention, and the cost of sexual desire. This novella is a marvel of psychological insight, following the man’s vacillations and tortuous self-justifications to their tragic-comic end. It is presented here in a translation first commissioned and published by Virginia Woolf for her Hogarth Press.