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Despite its undeniable impact on modern literature, there are very few comprehensive studies of literary works produced in Italy from the end of the eighteenth- to the twentieth century. The Invention of Modern Italian Literature examines the methods of select Italian writers and considers their impact on the literary world. Touching upon some of the most prominent and influential writers in Italy over the last three hundred years, Gino Tellini looks at the unique creative processes of each, as well as at the dominant trends that have come to characterize modern Italian literature.
Examining different genres such as autobiography, letters, poetry, and the novel, this study stresses the ways in which Italian writers achieved a hybrid of various styles of writing. This cross-genre approach had a significant influence on writers around the world and has come to be one of the defining characteristics of modern literature. Among specific writers and works dealt with are Vittorio Alfieri's autobiography, The Final Letters by Jacopo Ortis by Ugo Foscolo, the theatre of Alessandro Manzoni, the letters of Giacomo Leopardi, the novels of Giovanni Verga, and The Weaver by Giovanni Pascoli.
As an investigation of new expressive processes and stylistic experiences, The Invention of Modern Italian Literature situates prominent Italian writers within the context of modern literature.