By Direction of the Right Hon.
Storia della Letteratura Itahana. Presso 1 Unione Tipografico- Editrice. I Poeti PatrioUici deli Italia. Serafino Muggiani e Compagnia.
LItalie est-elle Ia Terre des iJiorts? WE think there is no good history of Italian literature which makes mention of writers later than Giacomo Leopardi, though there are several critical works which go far to supply the want felt in this direction.
It seems to have been the wise resolution of Emiliani-Giudici not to venture upon notice of contempo- rary authors; and he, whom we had willingly trusted in most things, speaks only of such poets of this century as were dead at the time his book was written. You feel in coming to the end of his work, and thence setting out alone through Italian liter- ature, that, without his clear sight, cordial criticism, an dskil- ful judgment, the way is to be much guessed at, and often lost.
But it had been to little purpose that he led you through five VOL. Perhaps, therefore, the best preparation for acquaintance with modern Italian poetry is thorough study of the critic who scarcely deals with it as a fact, but discusses it as a possibility.
The absence of extracts Thorn the authors criticised is a defect iii his work to be chiefly felt by non-Italian readers, but it is to be overcome in some degree by reference to the history of Italian literature by Cesare Cantit, in which nu- merous examples are given with considerable judgment, so far as all but contemporary poets are concerned.
This history, if it were not so large, would repay study as the product of Extreme individualism in abelards story of my calamities ut- terly commonplace mind, imbued with the very best principles. He seems to have chosen from the works of the living poets whatever is least characteristic and least interesting, and from such writers as Giusti, Dali Ongaro, Prati, and Aleardi there is scarcely a line which reveals the striking peculiarities of their thought and style.
His critique of the patriotic poetry of the Italians forms the best continuation of Giudicis work; and though you feel that there is an unconscious tendency to depreciate such poets as are not positively and directly patriotic, yet these poets are so very few in number that you feel also a security that very slight injustice is done.
The book has, moreover, the ad- vantage of occasional and judicious excerpts from the authors criticised, and presents an admirable, thoogh rapid, view of all Even in the supreme moments of sentence, when criticism may be forgiven for a certain big- wiggedness, for bullying the prisoners, and browbeating the bar, our critic does not forget to be modest.
We suppose that it would not be quite fair to criticise Mon- sieur Mare-Monnier as a critic, and his constant good-nature makes us loath to criticise him at all. But it is certain that, if there is another Frenchman in this world more disagreeable than the Frenchman who believes that nothing is great which is not Parisian, it is that rare Frenchman who has found out the national mistake, and desires to convince his compatriots of their error.
He feels that, however great the newly discovered un-Gallic grandeur may be, it is not at all comparable to his own grandeur in discovering it.
He voyages unknown seas to find it, and lie consequently wishes to give his own splendid name to the continent when he reaches it. Certainly it is a new world, but is he not Columbus? Sitting in a corner of Italy, which it seems the French na- tion had the amiable habit of calling the Land of the Dead, Monsieur Monnier takes the Italian literature of this century upon his knee, and discerns that it is a Christmas pie of in- credible depth and relish; and breaking through the crust of a language supposed to be devoted solely to the libretti of operas, he pulls out one plum after another, with never-failing cries of exultation in the remarkable genius which divined their exist- ence.
He lands this pie with deafening uproar; he praises and patronizes these plums with a noble condescension my great fellow-countrymen, you supposed this pie was no bet- ter than the charred pastry which they dig out of Pompeiiau ovens, and that the plums in it were so many dead coals!
But behold history, but behold poetry, but behold philosophy, but behold political economy! Death of my life! It is impossible to deny that Mare-Monnier has written a very lively, brilliant, and useful book. His biographical notices and personal sketches of the living authors are valuable but his criticism, being more a defence than an analysis, discredits it- Mbdern Italian Poets.
In looking through Italie, est-elle la Terre des Jforts? In prison and exile you find them to have been nearly all, for reasons to come presently, both from Monniers book and from the series of popular biographies to which we have had frequent occasion to turn for information not to be found else- where.
The National Gallery of Contemporary Italians is formed of some fourscore little books, uniformly printed, and sketching, with a curious uniformity of style, the lives of all dis- tinguished Italians, warriors, statesmen, and literati of the pres- ent century.
Each book or number of the series contains some eighty or ninety pages of letter-press, and a steel-plate likeness more or less unlike of the biographical subject.
It will be naturally supposed that the exigencies of composition are severely felt by the authors of these little books, and indeed there is a good deal of gorgeous writing in them; but, after all, the defects of inten- tionally popular literature are less observable in them than It must be confessed, that we have, in our language, nothing of corresponding utility and conven- ience.
They assist and simplify the study of modern Italian literature in a very great degree; they incidentally and agree- ably teach much of the history of contemporary Italy; their political and religious opinions are generous and liberal; and altogether they impress us well with the natural intelligence of the classes to which they seem chiefly addressed, namely, the Italian youth, and those elders of the populace to whom hard work and harder laws have, till now, denied the sources of knowledge and education.The Story of Civilization represents the most comprehensive attempt in our times to embrace the vast panorama of man's history and culture.
This, then, is about YOU. Join our group daily and listen to what Durant and the rest of us are saying. Com- pare the story of Messon in Le Jeune, Relation, , p.
It is substantially the same. They commonly owe their origin to dreams, often to the dreams of those in extreme sickness, who, on awaking, supposed that they had visited the other world, and related to the wondering by-stand- ers what they had seemi. [July, this respect. Harvard University Housing Sublet Kit ).
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