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It is such a deeply moving site, and has been held close to the hearts of the people of Lucca for hundreds of years. You can imagine Giacomo Puccini coming here with his mother as a small boy, and returning at various points throughout his young life, to stare at the beauty of Ilaria and be captivated by the agonising sadness all around her tomb. The young heroine in the world famous opera cuts her own throat when she discovers that her husband has remarried. Nichole, a makeup artist, posted additional images of the big day to her own account, including a look at her new bling.

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The authors take joint responsibility for the whole text, with Cataldi being the main author for the chapters on poetry and poets though he also takes on Gadda, while Luperini does Montale , while the chapters on non-Italian and some Italian subjects are the work of other specialists.

The negative perspective climaxes in the last major close-up of a writer, devoted to Pasolini and also done by Cataldi.

Given that Pasolini died in , there is a chronological paradox in treating him so close to the end of a work that brings us right up to date. Placing Pasolini in one of the last chapters appears to be justified by assigning him to the category of public intellectual and discursive writer - of which he is presented as a highly suspect, ambiguous, and somewhat histrionic and self-advertising exemplar. While this is not in itself simply wrong, it seems to serve the purpose of signalling a critical emptiness in Italian intellectual life, and masks the inadequate treatment given of Pasolini as poet, novelist and playwright his film-making being less pertinent to a history of literature.

A straightforward concluding chapter on the present scenario in Italian writing might have been a better option. It might also have occasioned a discussion as to whether belletristic writing has - perhaps temporarily - been ousted from its once central position as arbiter of values by more specialized writing in philosophy and the social sciences, economics and the natural sciences, or how it may cope with the tide of consumerism. This does not amount to an objection, however, against the quality, value, and usefulness of this work by Luperini and Cataldi and their colleagues.

The skill with which the work as a whole is planned and the information and discussion contained in its component parts are presented, is generally admirable. There is a certain amount of repetition, expanding a concept sometimes up to three times in the treatment of a major author or work, but this can be accepted as part of the pedagogical imperative; and there are occasional inaccuracies for instance, the persistent myth that Svevo became a bank clerk because of his father's financial difficulties. But these are very slight blemishes in a generally imposing work.

Many of the primi piani have striking analyses and theses. Luperini's study of the chronotope of La bufera is one example. Petroni's study of transgressive freedom in La coscienza di Zeno is another. In keeping with the character of the work as a literary history, and the aim stated in the introduction of tracing the shifts and changes in the literary canon and the role of reading practices hence the "interpretazione" in the title , there is always a strong focus on literary movements and debates and on the overall movement consistently downward, it would seem in the status of writing and of the writer.

This can lead to interesting chronological displacements.

Thus the more "modern" Svevo is placed later than his younger but less advanced contemporaries, d'Annunzio and Pirandello. This is a particular instance or three instances of a fully defensible revision of the canon compared to, say, half a century ago, and, indeed, it goes a great deal further. Luperini's and Cataldi's - and most people's - view of the Italian literary pantheon of the first half of the last century would be unrecognizable in Alfredo Galletti's Il Novecento of the old Vallardi series. Where now is the epic poetry of Ettore Cozzani? It rightly goes unmentioned by Luperini and Cataldi, while the accademico d'Italia Alfredo Panzini gets no more than a dismissive aside.

One might perhaps only remark that more might have been offered in a work of this type on the reading public and its tastes as is done occasionally, e. This leads to a more problematical consideration. Heedless of Gramsci, Luperini and Cataldi take a line similar to Spinazzola's regarding popular literature, which is dismissed as merely consumeristic. Thus, no attention is paid to Guareschi or Fallaci, who have been among the most widely read of Italian writers, both inside and outside Italy. They are implicitly excluded from "the literary". Even works such as Il gattopardo and writers such as Bassani are belittled, with less than justice done to the debates that have surrounded them.

This aristocratic exclusiveness is most massively evident in the treatment of women writers, who are given little space. Even if a claim could be sustained which I do not concede that as individual writers Italian women rank low in the literary league-table, there is at least a case for assessing their collective contribution as a category and the feminist critique whether explicit or oblique which they mount against the male hegemony.

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Although, early on, we read: "Il progetto di emancipazione femminile [ Other omissions seem less significant in a work that cannot possibly aim at exhaustive comprehensiveness. Gallina and Bertolazzi do get usefully, if briefly, discussed, but we need not be surprised at not finding Pompeo Bettini, or even Ettore Cantoni, while the job of selection of course becomes harder still with the numerous writers that have surfaced in the last quarter of a century. This guide is, I think, a must for the library of every university that has students of Italian, and is a good buy also for serious individual students and teachers.

A Life in Works. New Haven: Yale UP, The most striking feature of this brilliantly structured volume is Hollander's ability to condense, in an erudite and at the same time communicative manner, the complexities surrounding Dante's works, their genesis, and dating. While not taking anything for granted and not assuming any preconceptions of Dante's production on the part of the reader, Hollander embarks upon a journey of discovery in which the two main fils rouges can be identified as the following: Dante's experimentalism, and the way in which the so-called minor works prepare the path for writing the Commedia and contribute to understanding it.

If we are to accept, as Hollander does, Petrocchi's dating for the Paradiso ; and if we respect the internal evidence provided by Monarchia In fact, Dante's masterpiece incorporates elements of his writings that had appeared, albeit in varying degrees, at times because of their interruption, in his early works Vita nuova, Convivio, De vulgari Eloquentia or his later output, mainly in Monarchia.


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Hollander follows the unfolding of such production through a series of approaches that are stimulating and challenging for both the uninitiated and those who, although not daring to call themselves Dante scholars, are reasonably familiar with Dante's oeuvre. One such approach is evident from the very first pages, where Hollander highlights the importance of the Vita nuova and Dante's experimentalism by looking also at the poems that the author eventually did not include in his first major work; among those poems, one should certainly pay attention to the series of poems Dante exchanged with Dante da Maiano, in which casuistic love is analysed.

The figure of Beatrice in the Vita nuova is evidenced by Hollander in a chapter rich with scholarly exegesis and cross references to other scholars' contributions. Particularly essential are the notes in this and subsequent chapters, since they not only contain a plethora of information but are also an invaluable up-to-date bibliographical resource. Hollander does not shun tackling some of the more contentious issues, such as that regarding the donna gentile and the function of consolation for Dante's loss of Beatrice, both in verse VN 38, v.

The connection is anticipated with a discussion of Dante's "meravigliosa visione" , which finds a parallel in the context expressed by the "quasi rapito" of Convivio Thus, chronologically, Hollander turns to the incomplete Convivio, where, as in the Vita nuova, prose and poetry combine to express the author's ideas. The question of style, which anticipates the digression on the historical validity of a work of fiction in Inferno 16, is certainly of paramount importance, and Hollander treats it also by referring to Purgatorio 24 ca.

At that juncture, Dante looks back from this vantage point and declares that his "style" began when he composed "Donne ch'avete," around Hollander sustains that this declaration "makes it clear that there was no group of poets who adopted the style before that time - if there was such a group at all. XXIV, 58 was, in his opinion, a fellow practitioner" Following the chronological order, Hollander takes into consideration first Convivio 1; and, before looking at the remaining three books, he focuses on the question of style that Dante raises in the De vulgari Eloquentia.

Convivio 1 represents an introductory treatise to what Dante intended to be an encyclopedic work, and its second part ties in with his defense of the Italian vernacular, which will constitute the backbone of the De vulgari Eloquentia. Books 2 and 3 of the Convivio confirm that the treatise was composed for a reader well acquainted with the Vita nuova, while only Convivio 4 broaches the relatively new subject of nobility. In line with his approach to Dante as an experimentalist, but also as a reviser, a re-shaper of early formulations, Hollander concludes: "The prose of the Vita nuova supplies meanings for some of the earlier poems themselves; the prose of the Convivio does so still in more striking manner; Convivio and De vulgari Eloquentia approach the question of language from apparently different or even contradictory positions; the Comedy frequently engages its precursors in the continuing process of growth and self-definition" On the second page of this volume, Hollander had spoken of the "telling presence in Inferno I of phrases found in Convivio IV"; a section of the chapters on Convivio elaborates on the way that the Commedia corrects some of the positions assumed in Convivio.

In his treatment of the Commedia Hollander opts for a series of themes - truth and poetry, allegory, the moral situation of the reader, the moral order of the afterworld, politics, the poetry of the Commedia - inviting the reader to revisit the three cantiche with an investigating tool sharpened by a series of insights and cross-references to the works already viewed, and with an eye to the final section on Monarchia. Among the themes that Hollander pursues, three sections are reserved to Dante's three guides, who guide him through the afterworld. In relation to Virgil, Hollander returns to the question of style and to the fact that the reading of the Aeneid strongly influenced Dante's notion of poetry.

Hence derives Dante's belief that only a poetic work of considerable magnitude could attain poetic recognition, while also satisfying the poet's need to express himself on a variety of topics and to introduce a myriad of characters. We know, in fact, that previous works Vita nuova and Convivio had been characterized by a mix of poetry and prose. In Hollander's treatment, of particular interest is the linking of Virgil with tragedy Inf.

In relation to Beatrice, Hollander analyzes first her role in the Vita nuova and then, in the Commedia, her new role as a moral preceptor until she completes her task and returns to her place of glory in Heaven Par. The last section on Monarchia, preceded by the thematic elucidation on politics and a very succinct but comprehensive note on the Epistles, brings the volume full circle to the final part on the Latin works.

A very well organized index facilitates the consultation of works and references contained in the notes. The text of Hollander's volume is arranged in such a way as to satisfy both the reader who is stimulated into a quick consultation of the passage under discussion, and the one who is prepared to undertake more extensive research by referring to the bibliographical references given in the notes. Bruno Ferraro, University of Auckland. Patrick Boyde. Dante scholars have appreciated Boyde's outstanding scholarship over a number of years; this volume is somewhat the completion of a trilogy on Dante's poetry and thought - a trilogy started with Dante Philomythes and Philosopher: Man in the Cosmos and Perception and Passion in Dante's Comedy - but it does not take anything for granted and each section of the book takes the reader methodically first through the authors on which Dantes relied for 'moral' guidance and secondly through the application of such thoughts in the Comedy.

A further fil rouge of the volume, which confers organic unit to the many sections and adds a circular sense to the entire work, is the theme of the quest, symbolised by Ulysses, who is mentioned in the opening chapter and who is the subject of a close and perspicacious study in the closing stages of the volume; indeed the very title of the book is derived from Inferno XXVI 99 "e delli vizi umani e del valore".

After a panoramic survey of the authors on whose works Dante draws for moral inspiration or guidance - Homer, Plato, Horace, Ovid, Lucan, Virgil, Boethius, Cicero and others - Boyde focuses on Aristotle; not before having pointed out, however, that the explanation of the principles underlying the classification of sins in Hell which we find in Canto XI owes as much to Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics as to Roman Law. Chapter two is devoted to "the reading of a representative scholastic quaestio" 25 and it ends with Dante's metaphorical celebration of a 'quest' for knowledge, hence the importance and relevance of Ulysses.

Boyde chooses an article from the Summa Theologiae by St Thomas Aquinas, to whom Dante assigns a major speaking role in the Paradiso, to illustrate the structure of the quaestio on happiness; such exercise leads to an insight in the way Dante introduces syllogistic forms in the opening passages of the Convivio, privileging a free combination of ratio and auctoritas, and in Monarchia, where Book III in particular shows Dante's delight in the use of syllogistic form.

It is here that we find vividly stated Dante's love for truth; it is the human quest for true and certain knowledge that Dante will highlight in the Comedy, which can also be viewed as a journey to God and, symbolically, to the understanding of love. With symbols comes also the function and importance of numbers in the Comedy - three, four, seven, ten and twelve, just to mention a few - and of the hierarchical positioning of the many components which belie order, an order which stems from God.

Dante's two extended metaphors of fronds on the tree, as described in the first canto of the Paradiso, are visually brought out by The Tree of the Vices and The Tree of the Virtues, which are reproduced from an English Psalter for Robert of Lisle in the years in which Dante was writing the Purgatorio, and which are the illustrations of the dust cover of the volume. In the second part of the volume Boyde carries out a detailed analysis of the content of Dante's ethical thought; this is done by focusing on the distinction between the philosophical and religious texts of the authors who concerned themselves with "human vices and human worth.

Chapter five looks at the Christian values trough Dante's eyes and proceeds with an investigation into the concept of gentilezza, a word which does not occur either in the Bible or in Aristotle. Boyde tightens the argumentation on the concept of gentilezza in Dante by relating it also to Aristotle's account of moral virtue and interpreting it as "a seed of happiness planted by God" After having illustrated the predominantly positive concepts goodness, happiness, virtue , Boyde devotes a chapter each to the two 'arch-vices' responsible for all wrong-doing: covetousness and pride.

Starting with the etymology of cupidigia and proceeding with an exemplification of its many facets in the Comedy, Boyde highlights Dante's repulsion towards those who have embodied this vice; a repulsion which is fundamental in Dante's ethics as can be seen in the last chapter of his Monarchia. Likewise, for the medieval Christian, superbia was the 'beginning of all sin' and Dante upholds this in the Farinata episode Inf.

X , continuing his analysis of pride also in the encounters with Capaneus Inf.