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Poems / A Bilingual Edition

Giacomo Leopardi; Translated from the Italian and annotated by Jonathan Galassi

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Canti Download image

ISBN10: 0374533059
ISBN13: 9780374533052

Trade Paperback

528 Pages



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A New York Times Notable Book for 2011

Giacomo Leopardi is Italy's greatest modern poet, the first European writer to portray and examine the self in a way that feels familiar to us today. A great classical scholar and patriot, he explored metaphysical loneliness in entirely original ways. Though he died young, his influence was enormous, and it is no exaggeration to say that all modern poetry, not only in Italian, derives in some way from his work.

Leopardi's poetry is notoriously difficult to translate, and he has been less well known to English-language readers than his central significance for his own culture might suggest. Now Jonathan Galassi, whose translations of Eugenio Montale have been widely acclaimed, has produced a strong, fresh, direct version of this great poet that offers English-language readers a new approach to Leopardi. Galassi has contributed an informative introduction and notes that provide a sense of Leopardi's sources and ideas. This is an essential book for anyone who wants to understand the roots of modern lyric poetry.

About the author

Giacomo Leopardi; Translated from the Italian and annotated by Jonathan Galassi

Count Giacomo Leopardi was born in Recanati, a small town in the Italian Marches, in 1798. Renowned in his youth as a classical scholar, he suffered from poor health all his life and never experienced happiness in love. He visited Rome, Bologna, and Florence, but never fully broke away from his family, until in his last years he finally moved with a friend to Naples, where he died in 1837. The poems collected in Canti are Leopardi's best-known and best-loved work, and in the eyes of many make him the greatest Italian poet after Dante. He also published the Operette morali, a collection of philosophical dialogues and essays that is considered one of the fundamental books in Italian literature, as well as numerous translations, critical editions, and other texts. His prodigious, immense Zibaldone, or notebook of literary and philosophical speculations, remained unpublished until the beginning of the twentieth century. (A complete translation is forthcoming from FSG.)

Jonathan Galassi has also translated the poetry and prose of Eugenio Montale and is the author of two volumes of poems, Morning Run and North Street.

Giacomo Leopardi

Copyright Miriam Berkley