The Ethical Muse of Franco Fortini

Overview

"Among the best works on Fortini’s poetry that I have read in Italian or in English . . . a timely [and] . . . much too long awaited study on one of Italy’s major intellectuals and literary figures."--Rocco Capozzi, University of Toronto

"This is--quite simply--the best study of Fortini that we have."--Allen Mandelbaum, Wake Forest University

Thomas Peterson’s study of the Italian poet Franco Fortini (1917-1994) is the only critical analysis in English of one of Italy’s most prominent 20th-century writers and ...

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Overview

"Among the best works on Fortini’s poetry that I have read in Italian or in English . . . a timely [and] . . . much too long awaited study on one of Italy’s major intellectuals and literary figures."--Rocco Capozzi, University of Toronto

"This is--quite simply--the best study of Fortini that we have."--Allen Mandelbaum, Wake Forest University

Thomas Peterson’s study of the Italian poet Franco Fortini (1917-1994) is the only critical analysis in English of one of Italy’s most prominent 20th-century writers and thinkers. An outspoken anti-fascist in the 1940s and a prominent political writer of the Italian left until his death in 1994, he was nevertheless undogmatic in his principles. The son of a Jewish father and a Catholic mother, and an unorthodox Marxist (he never joined the Italian Communist Party), Fortini is dialogic in his thinking and art and always in search of the ethical. His poetry, prophetic and allegorical, moves against the grain of the Italian modernist (surrealist, irrationalist) avant-garde to identify a history of oppression and terror.
Peterson’s approach is chronological. By a careful and erudite analysis of each of the poet’s major works, he traces Fortini’s development as a journalist, translator, literary critic, and essayist--but always through the lens of Fortini’s evolution as a poet. His close readings and detailed comparisons of Fortini’s work with that of his contemporaries (including Noventa, Pavese, Luzi, Zanzotto, Vittorini, Pasolini, Montale, and Ungaretti) provide an excellent overview of Italian poetry in the modern period, of interest to the general reader of poetry, to the student and scholar of Italian literature, and to anyone interested in the literary and ideological vicissitudes of Italy in this last half-century.

Thomas E. Peterson is associate professor of Italian at the University of Georgia and author of The Paraphrase of an Imaginary Dialogue (1990 NEMLA Foreign Language Award), and Alberto Moravia.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813014791
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida
  • Publication date: 4/14/1997
  • Edition description: First
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 229

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
Introduction 1
1 Personality and Revolt in the Dopoguerra 12
2 "General Destinies" and Specific Addressees 35
3 Mannered Variations on the Canzone 55
4 Paradox and Redemption in La poesia delle rose 71
5 A Phyllotactic Model 91
6 Dasein or Dazibao? 112
7 Paesaggio con serpente 134
8 The Death of Bacchus 155
Conclusion: Into the Valley 171
Notes 179
Bibliography 188
Index 197
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