UMBERTO SABA E LA LIBRERIA ANTIQUARIAUmberto Saba was born in Trieste March 9, 1883, to a Jewish family on the maternal side, he was sent to study business, and was for many years director and owner of an antiquarian bookshop in Trieste, Via San Nicolò 30, we can still visit and, if you wish, buy, old and rare books. The activity of the “Ancient and Modern Library” began October 1, 1919 in Saba and allowed to reach a modest but respectable economic independence that allowed him to devote himself to poetry. The shop in Via San Nicolò also represented a particular observatory for the poet, because there were many customers who frequented the library, which over the years became a gathering place for writers and artists. Among others, Italo Svevo, who liked to spend most evenings and tell, once you got a belated success for his novels, the memories of his commercial enterprises.
I’d love to, now that I am old, paint the world with quiet innocence wonderful. And, among other things, my dark shop in Via San Nicolò 30 in Trieste; that, when he loved her and willingly passed between its walls his leisure hours, my friend In Stock called, not without good reason, “the workshop of miracles.”
Going for a morning of 1919 Via San Nicolò, I saw, or noticed for the first time, dark cavern. I thought, “If my destiny was to go there in my life, such as sadness.” It was – without my even knowing it – a warning or an omen.
A few days later, in fact I bought it from its previous owner, Joseph Maylàender. I bought it with the intention of throwing in the Adriatic all those old books that contained it, and resell it at a higher price empty. But after a few days, I no longer had the courage to implement the first project; those old books – none of which interested me for the content – I was enchanted. I also tried an accommodation for my life.
History of a library (1948)
It ‘was so that I spent in the dark cavern, about half of my life. I spent it in good part and the bad part, I would like – it’s likely – passed in any other environment. But the shop in Via San Nicolò had great merit, was for me, for all the years that lasted fascism, a shelter enough away from the speakers. Living literature is, for a poet, almost desperate enterprise; more desperate than ever, it seemed to me in those years. In addition, the books – of which I learned for the first time the existence – I do not like modern offended, that all or almost had me for the hideous face of the present time.
Also exuded a sense of peace: they were as the noble dead. I can not tell if you really loved them or not; perhaps I loved them, but in a particular way; as pimps love beautiful women to sell them.
History of a library (1948)
Sheba gave to Trieste nationally renowned antiquarian book publishing activity with the essential contribution of Carlo Cerne, the famous aide Carletto, to which the poet fed until the end of affection and gratitude.