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Giacomo Leopardi. This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Synopsis About this title "Discorso di un italiano intorno alla poesia romantica" from Giacomo Leopardi. Language Notes : Text: Italian "About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Buy New View Book. Human progress is linked to the discovery of connections. Who do not have a personal experience of nature? Their knowledge was acquired by others and as such it will force them to repeat what has already been done in an endless spiral of imitation and error [] Oct.

Leopardi: discorso di un italiano intorno alla poesia romantica"Ma che vo io"Prova in Voce:Karl Esse

Reason needs imagination; only through their synthesis can the poet-philosopher reach the absolute comprehension, the truth. Tutti i progressi del nostro spirito consistono nello scoprire i rapporti.


In many passages of Zibaldone, he contrasts the imaginative energy of the ancients to the literature of his time, uninspired and ineffective because ruled by the intellect. See Natalino Sapegno, G. VII [Milano: Garzanti, ], pp. The more I attribute to nature, the more I assign to God: the more I subtract from reason, the more I take away from the creature. The more I praise and elevate nature, the more I praise God.

Muscetta, A. Perna eds. Fucilla on the Occasion of his 80th Birthday Madrid: J. Saggio su Leopardi Genova: Il Melangolo, A consciousness, moreover, that lays bare to humanity its inescapable path to deterioration and suffering. Leopardi had interspersed his Zibaldone with countless considerations on the subject.

Rousseau had occupied himself with this subject as well, as evidenced in Reveries of a Solitary Walker, but with an entirely different attitude and opposing conclusions: But if there is a state where the soul can find a resting-place secure enough to establish itself and concentrate its entire being there, with no need to remember the past or reach into the future, where time is nothing to it, where the present runs on indefinitely but this duration goes unnoticed, with no sign of the passing of time, and no other feeling of deprivation or enjoyment, pleasure or pain, desire or fear than the simple feeling of existence, a feeling that fills our soul entirely, as long as this state lasts, we can call ourselves happy, not with a poor, incomplete and relative happiness such as we find in the pleasures of life, but with a sufficient, complete and perfect happiness which leaves no emptiness to be filled in the soul.

In a passage of Zibaldone, dated 28 November , Leopardi had given credit to such a conflation of unconsciousness and happiness and connected this state to that of existence, defined as a condition of simple subsistence that is closer to nature and consequently more genuine, happier. However, civilization has increased dramatically the inner life of the individual, simultaneously offered a clear definition of his most debated concept.

Nature is not life but existence, and as such it tends towards the latter. Because nature is matter and not spirit, or in it matter prevails over spirit, and so it should. It is the opposite of what happens to the individual and the civilized individual by the very nature of his being civilized.

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Moreover, nature reminds him that she is moved by a preordained order, her function limited to the very existence of the unaware and the obtuse. While nature is commanded and ruled by an immutable will, civilization, a man made product, is accidental, chaotic, and senseless. There can be, the Icelander testifies with his nomadic experience, no self-abandonment to the natural surrounding, because there simply is no place on earth where man can live outside of nature, history, or time.

The state of physical and mental oblivion, if hypothetically desirable, is impracticable for Leopardi for another reason. As clearly as he recognized in the Dialogue, a state of unconsciousness would clash against the humanly felt urge to question, examine, compare, in the true spirit of the Enlightenment , in one word to live within a natural, cultural, and historical context. Desire and happiness are for Leopardi completely integral with the inquisitive mind that the Icelander so daringly flaunts before his formidable opponent.

If life is a space of consciousness, it must be devoid of tutelage, and of the illusions, prejudices, and myths it imposes. His protagonist confronts the problem head-on, with a self-reliance that grows as the dialogue progresses. Gregor, , p. From the structure, which obeys a dialectic rather than a monologic model, to the epistemological foundation, which proceeds from the experience of the physical reality, upon which all paradigms of knowledge must rest. The principles are those of a scientific investigation, where a protagonist speaks of his personal experience distilled in cogent observations on the physical and social environment.

Although caught by surprise, he engages Nature in a dialogue, involving her in a process of observation and interpretation aimed at subversively dismantling, as Leopardi had described in his Zibaldone entry, errors, prejudices, and mental misconceptions. Impossible to impede its progress in the people as well as in the individuals.

The nations of Europe and their citizens have possessed for long now a developed life. To reduce them to a primitive and savage state is impossible]. In an anti-traditional spirit, the Romantics challenged the universalism of the enlightened philosophes and their belief in a unitary and absolute truth, affirming the authority of a subjectivity capable of defining its own situated and contextual truth. In Leopardi, Palandri recognizes this spirit, which he sees expressed in the tension between nature and history.

Critical Themes in the Italian Cultural Tradition. Prue Shaw and John Took eds. Ravenna: Longo, , pp. See G. Leopardi, Opere, vol. Following this logic, several culturally acquired absolutes are debunked in the dialogue, among them anthropocentrism, the primacy of human existence, the possibility of a divine intelligence acting for the good of humanity, the supremacy of the human intellect over all other creatures, and finally the im possibility of human happiness. His erring is described in detail, to demonstrate not the futility of his search but its usefulness for the purpose of his epistemological model.

In fact, to err is a spatial progression that involves, metaphorically, a process of confronting, dismantling, and discarding all deeply held cultural constructs. Irrevocably fraught with impasses, difficulties, and crises the dismantling has pained him both physically and emotionally. It is the literary representation of a philosophical method that recognizes, and even conflates, human desire as erring and error , with the striving for knowledge and understanding.

Nature is not only an unintelligent entity, it is also the manifestation of an all-knowing design that has no interest in or commitment to the human destiny. The condition of solitude and detachment from any human consortium, the escape into a peaceful and emotionless retreat, represent the culmination of what Leopardi perceived as an aimless, inexorable, and hopeless choice. Truth does not appear at the end of the experience while the possibility of an absolute and incontrovertible entity has been rejected in favor of a process that is never ending and never stable, involving a perpetual motion, a constant wandering that presupposes the acceptance of the becoming.

See Buffon, Histoire naturelle, cit. XIII, p. In another Operetta, In Praise of Birds, Leopardi had defined artificial and man-made the idea of order in nature, built upon a superstructure that reflected the organization given by human intervention. His encounters with the Greek philosophers are particularly regular in Zibaldone during the first months of It is as difficult to define error as it is to know what truth is, yet no criterion of truth can be established without considering the problem of its co-existence with its opposite, its very shadow.

How is the end of the Operetta to be interpreted then? As the tragically logical consequence of a journey into nothingness, or rather as an experience that mirrors the philosophical method of investigation as Leopardi envisioned it in those prolific years? True reality is merely a process of re-instating self-identity, of reflecting into its own self and from its other, and is not an original and primal unity as such, not an immediate unity as such. It is the process of becoming, the circle which presupposes its end and its purpose, and has its end for its beginning; it becomes concrete and actual only by being carried out, and by the end it involves.

In this experience, Nature acts as his counterpart, a mediation of his objective self involved in a reflection that conflates truth, the final result, and the process of arriving at speak of something as big, it will also appear as small; if you speak of it as heavy, it will also appear light, and similarly with everything, since nothing is one — either one thing or qualified in one way — the fact is that, as a result of movement, change and mixture with one another, all the things which we say are — which is not the right way to speak of them — are coming to be; because nothing ever is, but things are always coming to be.

Nothing demonstrates the greatness and the power of the human intellect, neither the height and nobility of man than the power he has to know and entirely to comprehend and to deeply feel his own smallness. When he considers the plurality of the worlds, he feels like an infinitesimal part of a globe that is a minimal part of one of the infinite systems composing the world.

In this consideration he astonishes at his own smallness, and profoundly feeling and intently observing it, he confuses himself with the nothingness, and loses almost himself in the thought of the immensity of things. And almost finds himself lost in the incomprehensible vastness of existence.

Mazzali, Ettore

With this action and thought, he then gives the highest possible attestation of his nobility, of the immense capacity of his mind, which, enclosed in such small and minimal being, has reached knowledge and understanding of things much superior to himself and can embrace and contain in his intellect this same vastness.

In it, Leopardi conflates the idea that such a microcosm as the human intellect can contain the macrocosm, its endlessness. In it, the very same intellect, small and minute as it is, can dissolve and rest, albeit until the next self-defining experience, in the infinite.

His disappearance, which seems to conclude the episode in absolute negativity, can be read, metaphorically, as the conclusion of a successful process of investigation. In the narrative and physical space of the dialogue, Leopardi has conducted a progressive demonstration of his epistemological method. And so this wondrous and terrifying mystery of universal existence, ere ever it be declared or understood, will perish and pass away].

The Moral Essays, cit. A final witty admonition that truth is an event and not a meaning, a self-reflective process that testifies of the uncertainty, and yet of the necessity, of the human search for sense and purpose. See Antologia leopardiana. La prosa Roma: Carocci, , p. Related Papers. By Fabio Frosini. By Luigi Gussago.