Classicism and Romanticism in Italian Literature: Leopardi's Discourse on Romantic Poetry

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2015-07-17
  • Publisher: Routledge
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In 1816 a violent literary quarrel engulfed Bourbon Restoration Italy. On one side the Romantics wanted an opening up of Italian culture towards Europe, and on the other the Classicists favoured an inward-looking Italy, based on its Greco-Roman roots. Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837), a young poet and philosopher, wrote a Discourse of an Italian on Romantic Poetry [1818], aiming to contribute to the debate from a new perspective. This study provides the first complete English translation of the Discourse, which was finally published in 1906. It is placed in context and its potential impact on contemporary Restoration Italy is assessed. Canilletti argues that the Classicist/Romanticist clash can be seen as the aftermath of the political, social and cultural trauma caused by the Napoleonic Wars.

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