Giosuè Carducci Analysis

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(Literary Essentials: Great Poems of the World)

0111200539-Carducci.jpg Giosuè Carducci (Library of Congress) Published by Salem Press, Inc.

Giosuè Carducci had a long career as a scholarly critic as well as a poet and combined the two activities well. He wrote many volumes of literary history and criticism and edited several editions of Italian authors, including Petrarch and Politian. His two volumes on Giuseppe Parini have been called “the most impressive monument of his indefatigable industry.” His best-known essays include “Di alcune condizioni della presente letteratura,” “Dello svolgimento della letteratura nazionale,” “Del rinnovamento letterario in Italia,” and “Confessioni e battaglie.” The major fault in his prose, as in his poetry, is a tendency toward bombast, though at his best he was the finest essayist of his time. Often asked to speak on public occasions, he displayed disciplined classical eloquence, speaking on Vergil, Dante, Petrarch, Giovanni Boccaccio, Alessandro Manzoni, and Giacomo Leopardi. His greatest speech, delivered in Bologna on June 4, 1882, was his extemporaneous eulogy for Giuseppe Garibaldi, who had died two days previously: “Per la morte di Giuseppe Garibaldi” (on the death of Giuseppe Garibaldi). All his nonfiction, as well as his poetry, is collected in his complete works, Opere complete (1940).


(Literary Essentials: Great Poems of the World)

The first Italian to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, which he received in 1906, Giosuè Carducci synthesized two great literary traditions to create a distinctive, original body of work. Although he came to maturity in the Romantic era, Carducci adhered to and helped maintain the values of the classical tradition; indeed, he became the outstanding exponent of the classicism which lay beneath the surface of Romanticism throughout the 1800’s. Unlike his contemporaries, who looked nostalgically back to the Middle Ages, Carducci turned his attention toward ancient Rome and Greece. His fusion of a classical aesthetic with essentially Romantic sentiments exerted a powerful influence, particularly in the last decades of the century. Poets such as Enrico Panzacchi, Lorenzo Stecchetti, Giovanni Marradi, and Severino Ferrari were all part of Carducci’s circle. Both for his influence and for his work, Carducci is recognized as the major Italian poet of the late 1800’s.


(Literary Essentials: Great Poems of the World)

Bailey, John Cann. Carducci. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press, 1926. A brief biographical and critical study of Carducci.

Brand, Peter, and Lino Pertile, eds. The Cambridge History of Italian Literature. Rev. ed. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999. Includes bibliographical references and index.

Donadoni, Eugenio. A History of Italian Literature. Translated by Richard Monges. New York: New York University Press, 1969. A two-volume history of Italian literature.

Scalia, S. Eugene. Carducci: His Critics and Translators in England and America, 1881-1932. New York: S. F. Vanni, 1937. A history of the critical reception of Carducci’s work in England and America. Includes bibliographic references.

Williams, Orlo. Giosuè Carducci. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1914. A short biography of Carducci. Includes bibliographic references.