Listening time: under 4 minutes. 

Casting back across the sweep of history, there is only a handful of creatures, human and otherwise, whom I regret not being able to meet, pending the perfection of the time travel machine I’m building in the (mental) shed.  Of these, preeminent among animals is Barone, a large and majestic dog given to the Italian writer Carlo Levi by the local villagers when he was exiled from one part of Italy to another for his failure to appreciate the splendour of Facsism and its proponents.  

My sorrow at never having known Barone is compounded by the poetry of Levi’s description. 

If only all aristocrats were so engaging. 

Enjoy other canine quotations in our superb collection on this pet theme. 

Source: Carlo Levi, Christ Stopped at Eboli, trans. Frances Frenaye (London: Penguin Classics, 2000), p. 113-14

Photo credit: Dez_mez at pixabay

WritingRedux Podcast

Quotation: Carlo Levi - Christ Stopped at Eboli

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His face was handsome, like that of a Chinese dragon, terrifying in his moments of anger or when he bared his teeth, but with round, almost human hazel eyes that followed my movements without his even turning his head.  His expression ranged from tenderness to independence to a certain childish malice.  His hair hung down almost to the ground, soft, curly and shiny as silk; his tail, which he carried curved and waving in the air like the plume of an Oriental warrior, was as thick as that of a fox.  He was a gay, free, wild creature, affectionate without servility and obedient without forfeiting his liberty, a sort of hobgoblin or familiar spirit, good-natured but elusive.  He jumped rather than walked, leaping from one point to another, his ears and skin twitching.  He chased butterflies and birds, frightened the goats, picked fights with cats and dogs, and ran all alone through the fields looking up at the clouds, always on the alert, sniffing the air as if he were following the fluttering thread of some innocent supernatural thought, the bounding incarnation of some woodland sprite. 

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