Dante and Italy in British Romanticism by Frederick Burwick, Paul Douglass (eds.)

By Frederick Burwick, Paul Douglass (eds.)

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For Robinson knew Leopardi personally, having met and conversed with him during his stay in Florence in 1831 (Diary 2:507). Leopardi’s death left the throne of Dante, as Wordsworth understood it, empty. ” 36 B r uc e G r av e r Notes 1. Wordsworth gives particulars of his discomfort with Robinson’s habits in a letter to Mary Wordsworth, dated July 17, 1837 (Letters of Williams and Dorothy Wordsworth 425–427). , gabbling German, or any other tongue, all which places and practices are my abomination” (426).

But for reasons to be considered, the answer cannot be formulated adequately in the expected terms of personal affinity or literary influence. Byron’s devotion to the Ferrarese poets is clear enough. 57–60). 8). Yet there was nothing strange about his admiration of “the bard of Chivalry”: the latter half of the eighteenth century saw a revival of interest in Ariosto and other Italian poets, stimulated by Giuseppe Baretti’s Dissertation upon the Italian Poetry (1753), and the publication of new translations of the Furioso by William Huggins (1755) and John Hoole (1783).

He is not even the only poet for whom the selfidentificatory treatment of the figure of Tasso signals an intellectual turning point and confirms a sense of poetic vocation (cf. Cameron and Reiman 7:222–223), for Goethe’s Torquato Tasso, begun before and finished (in substantially altered form) after his Italian sojourn of 1786–1788, is arguably “in many ways the axis round which his entire literary career revolves” (Boyle 1:607). Yet neither Byron’s “Lament” nor Goethe’s drama is especially concerned with the Liberata itself: it is the conflictual environment in which that poem was composed that provides the thematic medium for artistic self-reflection.

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