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Dejected by decades of commercial and critical failure, the Triestine author Italo Svevo found fresh inspiration for his final novel (La coscienza di Zeno, 1923) in the writings of Freud. Yet critics have always puzzled over his declared intransigence toward his new master, often attributing this ambivalence to a simple defense mechanism. But what if Svevo had been reading other works simultaneously, works that challenged and exposed the weaknesses of psychoanalytic authority? As this article argues, Svevo’s recently discovered reading of Kierkegaard’s “existential irony” sheds light on his conception of the power of both narrative and the analytical process itself.