Studies in the Poetry of Italy Part 16

Other names of this later period crowd upon our attention, in political literature, Mazzini; in the novel, D'Azeglio, Cantu, Guerazzi, and Gozzi; in history Botta, Balbo, and Cantu. But we must hasten to close this brief survey, with merely mentioning the names of a few of the more important writers of the present time; in poetry, Carducci, Ada Negri, D'Annunzio; in the novel, which in Italy as elsewhere has usurped the chief place, Fogazzaro, D'Annunzio. The latter, although still young, is, next to Carducci, the most considerable figure in Italian literature to-day. In his dramas, poetry, and novels he shows a wonderful command of language and descriptive imagination, and at one time bid fair to become a truly great writer. In his later works he shows retrogression rather than progress, and the taint of immorality and a certain exaggerated eccentricity of thought have vitiated his talent and tended to destroy his popularity.


1. Mention some causes of the degradation of Italian literature in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.

2. Describe the political and social condition of the country.

3. Who was Marini?

4. Name some of the early writers of Italian comedy.

5. Life, character, and literary genius of Goldoni.

6. What was the musical drama; who its greatest writer?

7. Name two famous tragedies before the time of Alfieri.

8. Give an account of the life of Alfieri.

9. What is the general character of his plays?

10. Alfieri's influence, what form did it take?

11. Name some of his followers.

12. Who was the greatest poet of the early nineteenth century?


For the political and social condition of Italy during the period of decline see Symond's Catholic Reaction. Alfieri's Autobiography, an intensely interesting book, has been often published in English. For modern literature see Howell's Modern Italian Poets, Sewall's translations from Carducci, and Greene's Italian Lyrists of To-day.

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