The great poet of the age was Leopardi, born thirteen years after Manzoni at Recanati, of a patrician family, bigoted and avaricious. He became so familiar with Greek authors that he used afterwards to say that the Greek mode of Leopardi. thought was more clear and living to his mind than the Latin or even the Italian. Solitude, sickness, domestic tyranny, prepared him for profound melancholy. From this he passed into complete religious scepticism, from which he sought rest in art. Everything is terrible and grand in his poems, which are the most agonizing cry in modern literature, uttered with a solemn quietness that at once elevates and terrifies us. But besides being the greatest poet of nature and of sorrow, he was also an admirable prose writer. In his Operette morali—dialogues and discourses marked by a cold and bitter smile at human destinies which freezes the reader—the clearness of style, the simplicity of language and the depth of conception are such that perhaps he is not only the greatest lyrical poet since Dante, but also one of the most perfect writers of prose that Italian literature has had.
As realism in art gained ground, the positive method in criticism kept pace with it. From the manner of Botta and Colletta history returned to its spirit of learned research, as is shown in such works as the Archivio storico italiano, Political literature.established at Florence by Giampietro Vieusseux, the Storia d’ Italia nel medio evo by Carlo Troya, a remarkable treatise by Manzoni himself, Sopra alcuni punti della storia longobardica in Italia, and the very fine history of the Vespri siciliani by Michele Amari. But alongside of the great artists Leopardi and Manzoni, alongside of the learned scholars, there was also in the first half of the 19th century a patriotic literature. To a close observer it will appear that historical learning itself was inspired by the love of Italy. Giampietro Vieusseux had a distinct political object when in 1820 he established the monthly review Antologia. And it is equally well known that his Archivio storico italiano (1842) was, under a different form, a continuation of the Antologia, which was suppressed in 1833 owing to the action of the Russian government. Florence was in those days the asylum of all the Italian exiles, and these exiles met and shook hands in Vieusseux’s rooms, where there was more literary than political talk, but where one thought and one only animated all minds, the thought of Italy.
The literary movement which preceded and was contemporary with the political revolution of 1848 may be said to be represented by four writers—Giuseppe Giusti, Francesco Domenico Guerrazzi, Vincenzo Gioberti and Cesare Balbo. Giusti wrote epigrammatic satires in popular language. In incisive phrase he scourged the enemies of Italy; his manner seemed very original, but it really was partly imitated from Béranger. He was a telling political writer, but a mediocre poet. Guerrazzi had a great reputation and great influence, but his historical novels, though read with ferverish avidity before 1848, are now almost forgotten. Gioberti, a powerful polemical writer, had a noble heart and a great mind; his philosophical works are now as good as dead, but the Primato morale e civile degli Italiani will last as an important document of the times, and the Gesuita moderno will live as the most tremendous indictment ever written against the Jesuits. Balbo was an earnest student of history, and made history useful for politics. Like Gioberti in his first period, Balbo was zealous for the civil papacy, and for a federation of the Italian states presided over by it. His Sommario della storia d’ Italia is an excellent epitome. (A. Ba.)
After the year 1850 political literature becomes less important, one of the last poets distinguished in this genre being Francesco dall’ Ongaro, with his stornelli politici. For details as to the works of recent writers, reference may be made Contem-porary literature. to the separate biographical articles, and here a summary must suffice. Giovanni Prati and Aleardo Aleardi continue romantic traditions. The dominating figure of this later period, however, is Giosuè Carducci, the opponent of the Romantics and restorer of the ancient metres and spirit, who, great as a poet, was scarcely less distinguished as a literary critic and historian. Other classical poets are Giuseppe Chiarini, Domenico Guoli, Arturo Graf, Guido Mazzoni and Giovanni Marradi, of whom the two last named may perhaps be regarded as special disciples of Carducci, while another, Giovanni Pascoli, best known by his Myricae and Poemetti, only began as such. Enrico Panzacchi (b. 1842) was at heart still a romantic. Olindo Guerrini (who wrote under the pseudonym of Lorenzo Stecchetti) is the chief representative of veriomo in poetry, and, though his early works obtained a succès de scandale, he is the author of many lyrics of intrinsic value. Alfredo Baccelli and Mario Rapisardi are epic poets of distinction. Felice Cavallotti is the author of the stirring Marcia de Leonida. Among dialect writers, the great Roman poet Giuseppe Gioachino Belli has found numerous successors, such as Renato Fucini (Pisa), Berto Barbarini (Verona) and Cesare Pascarella (Rome). Among the women poets, Ada Negri, with her socialistic Fatalità and Tempeste, has achieved a great reputation; and others, such as Vittoria Aganoor, A. Brunacci-Brunamonti and Annie Vivanti, are highly esteemed in Italy.
Among the dramatists, Pietro Cossa in tragedy, Gherardi del Testa, Ferdinando Martini and Paolo Ferrari in comedy, represent the older schools. More modern methods were adopted by Giuseppe Giacosa and Gerolamo Rovetta.
In fiction, the historical romance has fallen into disfavour, though Emilio de Marchi has written some good examples in this genre. The novel of intrigue was cultivated by Anton Giulio Barrili and Salvatore Farina, the psychological novel by Enrico Annibale Butti, the realistic local tale by Giovanni Verga, the mystic philosophical novel by Antonio Fogazzaro. Edmondo de Amicis, perhaps the most widely read of all modern Italians, has written acceptable fiction, though his moral works and travels are more generally known. Of the women novelists, Matilde Serao and Grazia Deledda have become deservedly popular.
Gabriele d’ Annunzio has produced original work in poetry, drama and fiction, of extraordinary quality. He began with some lyrics which were distinguished no less by their exquisite beauty of form than by their licence, and these characteristics reappeared in a long series of poems, plays and novels. D’ Annunzio’s position as a man of the widest literary and artistic culture is undeniable, and even his sternest critics admit his mastery of the Italian tongue, based on a thorough knowledge of Italian literature from the earliest times. But with all his genius, his thought is unhealthy and his pessimism depressing; the beauty of his work is the beauty of decadence.
Bibliography.—Among the more aesthetic accounts of Italian literature, those of Emiliano Giudici (Florence, 1855) and Francesco de Sanctis (Naples, 1870) are still the best. Two histories of real scientific value were interrupted by the death of the authors: that of Adolfo Bartoli (Florence, 1879–1899) breaking off in the 14th century, and that of Gaspary (Berlin, 1884–1889; English version, so far only down to the death of Dante, London, 1901) breaking off before Tasso (a completion being undertaken by Wendriner). Bartoli’s article in the 9th edition of this encyclopaedia has been reproduced, with some slight revision, above. Among the many recent Italian works, the most important is the elaborate series of volumes contributing the Storia lett. d’ Italia scritta da una società di professori (1900 sqq.): Giussani, Lett. romana; Novati, Origini della lingua; Zingarelli, Dante; Volpi, Il Trecento; Rossi, Il Quattrocento; Flamini, Il Cinquecento; Belloni, Il Seicento; Concari, Il Settecento; Mazzoni, L’ Ottocento. Each volume has a full bibliography. Important German works, besides Gaspary, are those of Wilse and Percopò (illustrated; Leipzig, 1899), and of Casini (in Gröber’s Grundr. der röm. Phil., Strassburg, 1896–1899). English students are referred to Symonds’s Renaissance in Italy (especially, but not exclusively, vols. iv. and v.; new ed., London, 1902), and to R. Garnett’s History of Italian Literature (London, 1898). (H. O.)
ITALIAN WARS (1848–1870), a generic name for the series of wars for Italian unity which began with the Milan insurrection of the 18th of March 1848 and closed with the capture of Rome by the Italians on the 20th of September 1870. For their Italian political interest see Italy: History. The present article deals with certain campaigns of distinctively military importance, viz. 1848–49, 1859 and 1866, in the first and third of which the centre of gravity of the nationalist movement was the Piedmontese