Atsuko Suga (1929-1998) was an essayist and a scholar of Italian literature. When she was young, she lived in Italy for more than ten years, studied Italian language and worked on translation of Italian literature. She married to Italian Giuseppe in 1961 but Giuseppe passed away suddenly several years later and she returned to Japan. After that, she taught at universities.
Trieste, located in the northeastern area of Italy on Italy-Slovenia border, is a port town with a population of about 200,000. The essay “A sloping path in Trieste” is written about when she visited Trieste alone to trace Italian poet Umberto Saba’s footsteps.
Following are excerpts from the essay.
“No matter how long way to go, I will walk without use of vehicles. It was one of the few self-imposed rules that day. I want to just walk as Saba always walked. “
“Why do I keep attaching my mind to Saba for so many years? Am I trying to overlap memories of my husband who died on a June night twenty years ago?”
The current book store that Umberto Saba ran.
The photo is from a blog: https://note.com/alberocooking
Since medieval times, Trieste had been belonged to Austria, but after the First World War, it became Italy’s territory in 1919. Trieste was a peculiar city culturally as well, they had mixed feelings of respect and hatred toward the culture and the people of Vienna. But they continued to admire Italy linguistically and racially. The double nature has made the identity of the people of Trieste complicated. Suga also wrote that the houses in the city were Austrian style rather than Italian.
In Italy, a major tourism destination, Trieste is an unknown, outlying city that affected by history. Suga wrote, “As I walked down a slope, nearby houses looked unexpectedly poor and aging.” And, I also wanted to walk the nameless slope. Suga’s writing style that is quiet, unwavering solid makes me feel nostalgic for the strange city, Trieste. (H.S)
[Video] ETV special | Atsuko Suga-Reminiscence of foggy Italy-Writer who lived in freedom and solitude-Suga’s rare natural voice is from 56’16”.