Giambattista Marino Analysis

Other Literary Forms

Giambattista Marino’s voluminous production is almost entirely in poetical form. In 1617, while he was in France, Marino wrote an invective against the enemies of the Catholic Church, La sferza, invettiva a quattro ministri della iniquitá (the whip: invective against four ministers of iniquity), which was first published in Paris in 1625. In addition, Marino’s copious correspondence, included in Lettere (1627) and published in a modern edition, Epistolario (1912), is very important, for it provides revealing glimpses of his moral and aesthetic values.


Thematically and stylistically, Giambattista Marino is considered one of the greatest Italian poets of his age and also, perhaps, the most representative man of letters of Baroque Europe. His impact was felt immediately, not only in the various literary circles of Italy but also in France, where he produced his masterpiece, L’Adone (Adonis), and whence his fame spread throughout the Continent. Echoes and imitators of the Marinesque style are indeed to be found everywhere, from the Slavic world (Miklós Zríny, Dżivo Bunić-Vucić, Igniat Djordjić, Jan Andrzej Morsztyn) to seventeenth century England (Edward Herbert, Thomas Carew, Andrew Marvell, Richard Crashaw, Samuel Daniel, Edward Sherburne, Thomas Stanley, and so on).

Although Spanish literature of this period was to produce an equally influential figure in Luis de Góngora y Argote (who was to lend his name to Gongorism, an aesthetic current that paralleled Marinism), Spanish poets such as Juan de Tasis, Luis de Carrillo y Sotomayor, and Francisco de Quevedo y Villegas became admirers and imitators of Marino, and Lope de Vega expressed his admiration for the Italian poet by dedicating one of his comedies to him. It was undoubtedly in France, however, where Marino lived for some eight years as a favorite of Queen Marie de Médicis, that his influence was most powerfully felt. Poets as diverse as Antoine-Girard de Saint-Amant, Théophile de Viau, Tristan L’Hermite, Georges de Scudéry, Vincent Voiture, Jean de La Fontaine, Claude de Malleville, and Pierre Le Moyne betray a significant debt to Marino, and it was from France that Marinism radiated all over Europe.


Guardiani, Francesco, ed. The Sense of Marino: Literature, Fine Arts and Music of the Italian Baroque. New York: Legas, 1994. A critical interpretation of selected poetic works and an introduction the history of Italian poetry of the seventeenth century.

Mirollo, James V. The Poet of the Marvelous: Giambattista Marino. New York: Columbia University Press, 1963. A biography of Marino. Includes texts in Italian and English of “La canzone dei baci,” “La maddalena di Tiziano,” and an extract from “La pastorello.”

Segel, Harold B. The Baroque Poem: A Comparative Survey. New York: Dutton, 1974. A survey of 150 texts from English, American, Dutch, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Mexican, Portuguese, Polish, Modern Latin, Czech, Croatian, and Russian poetry, in the original languages and accompanying English translations.