Le 6 A
Every room bears the name of one of the female characters of the famous writer from Trieste
Le 6 A
The name “Le 6 A” is a tribute to Italo Svevo, whom Eugenio Montale defined as “a piece of Trieste”. The name is also a tribute to Trieste, the city-character, the secret matrix of events and situations, a city of trade but also a city of souls. A symbol city, like Kafka’s Prague and Joyce’s Dublin. Bearing the names of the women characters created by Svevo, “Le 6 A” is then a tribute to the women of Trieste, whom are traditionally held as being beautiful, free, committed and strong.
Annetta, the main female character in “A Life”, is the young careless daughter of the rich banker Maller.
A lively, passionate, somehow haughty lady, she is haunted by admirers and aspires to be a writer.
She convinces Alfonso Nitti to write a novel with her, which turns to be an illegible commonplace book. After seducing her, Alfonso will abandon and leave Annetta to decide about her destiny.
Italo Svevo introduces her with these words:
… Mrs. Annetta came into the room and Alfonso got up, bewildered. She was a beautiful girl, although he did not fancy her large rosy face. Her tall height, and the pale-coloured robe highlighting her fleshy silhouette, could not please a sentimental man. In such a perfection, Alfonso found that her eyes were not dark enough and her hair was not curly. He could not tell why, but he wished they were.
Amalia is the sister of Emilio Brentani, the protagonist of “As a Man Grows Older”.
A caring and considerate woman, she lives a secluded life. She represents middle-class propriety and honorability and illustrates the feminine model of the time: a woman devoted to her family and to the comfort of her man.
Resigned to live a dull life with her brother, Amalia has never considered love, but when she sees Emilio in love, she starts dreaming and nurturing the “crazy hope” to be fancied by sculptor Stefano Balli, a frequent visitor to her house. And she suffers in silence, haunted by nightly raptures.
Italo Svevo describes her as follows:
… His family? Just one sister, not cumbersome either physically or morally, small and pale, some years younger than him but older by character and, maybe, by destiny. Of the two, he was the selfish, the young, while she lived for him like a mother, self-forgetful…
Mrs. Amalia had never been beautiful; tall, skinny, colourless … of a girl she only retained the hands, white and slender, beautifully shaped, to which she devoted all her care.
In “As a Man Grows Older” Angiolina Zarri is a young beautiful lower-class woman who fatally attracts Emilio. Their affair was initially meant to help Emilio brighten his dull life, but then he falls madly in love with the girl, who will give him the only Carnival out of his life of eternal Lent.
Free, sensual and full of life, genuine and naïve, fickle and elusive, Angiolina is a force of nature, wild and untamed. She is fire. Her exuberant sexuality will come into clash with the middle-class conventions of the late 20th century Trieste.
This is how Italo Svevo describes her:
Angiolina, a blonde with large blue eyes, tall and strong though slender and graceful, her face lit up with life, with the amber yellow complexion of good health, walked next to him, her head bowed to one side, as if bent under the weight of all the gold that wrapped her …
Evidently she had in her eye, for any smart man passing by her, some kind of greeting; her eye would not watch, but a flash of light sparkled in it. In her pupil something moved and constantly altered the deepness and direction of light. That eye popped!
Zeno Cosini, the main character in “Zeno’s Conscience”, is invited to visit the Malfenti family, where he meets the four daughters of his host. Ada, the second born, is beautiful, wise and endowed with all virtues. After refusing Zeno’s proposal of marriage, she will marry Guido Speier, a man of talent and equal to her by social status and attractiveness. However, she will not be fulfilled as a wife, nor as a mother. She will become a sour intransigent woman and, with time, she will fade away as she is caught by Zeno’s own nightmare: a disease will spoil her beauty.
Here is how Ada is first introduced, when she enters the room with one of her sisters:
Finally, Ada and Alberta came in. I breathed: they were both beautiful and brought in the room the light that was missing until then. Both were dark-haired and tall and slender, though fairly different one to another. Ada was already a woman, with her grave eyes in a face that better than snow-white was somehow blue, and thick curly hair, styled gracefully and severely.
That first time, I looked at Ada with one wish: to fall in love with her, because you had to get through that to marry her.
Alberta is the third of the Malfenti sisters, still a teenager: beautiful, mild and serene, she will refuse Zeno’s proposal with a smile, with no embarrassment or blush. She intends to continue her studies. Zeno will be the first to whom she tells her secret: she wants to be a writer.
A reference for her mother and sisters, Alberta welcomes enthusiastically the news about Augusta’s engagement to Zeno and declares she will be a good sister to him. However, Alberta too will change her mind and eventually get married.
Italo Svevo describes her this way:
Finally, Ada and Alberta came in. I breathed: they were both beautiful and brought in that room the light that was missing until then. Both were dark-haired and tall and slender, though fairly different one to another. Alberta was a bit older than seventeen. Like her mother, she had – though dark-haired – a rosy transparent skin, which added to her childish look …
I watched her! She looked like Ada! A bit smaller than her, she held in her body the marks of childhood, not faded yet. She would frequently raise her voice and she often laughed excessively, which turned her face contracted and red.
Augusta is the eldest of the sisters, the only one who will immediately accept Zeno’s proposal, because she has been in love with him, as she will avow to him later, since before she met him, although she known he does not love her. Squint-eyed, full-bodied and hardly graceful, she owns a wise inner beauty that shines through her healthy and active silhouette. The portrait of a honest, traditional bourgeois woman, a model mother and perfect housekeeper, Augusta reveals herself and improves during their marriage, and she will be a calm and loving partner to Zeno, always ready to offer her help at critical times.
Italo Svevo introduces her with these words:
In the elegant wide living-room … I found only Augusta reading beside a window … there, of the four girls with the same initial, one would die, because she concerned me. How could they tell she was beautiful? The first thing you would spot in her was her squint, so remarkable that, when you thought about her after you had not met her for a long time, it would embody her all. Then, she had not very abundant hair, blonde but of a dark shade, with no light, and her whole figure was not ungraceful, though a bit sturdy for her age. In the few moments I remained alone, I thought: “If the others look like this one!”