In this Very Short Introduction, Peter Hainsworth and David Robey consider Italian literature from the Middle Ages to the present day, looking at themes and issues which have recurred throughout its history and continue to be of importance today.
Examining themes such as regional identities, political disunity, and the role of the national language, they also cover a wide range of authors and works, including Dante, Petrarch, Manzoni, Montale, and Calvino. They explore some of the distinctive traditions of the literature, such as its liking for theorizing its own position, its concern with politics, and its secular orientation in spite of the Catholic beliefs and practices of the Italian people. Concluding by looking at the ways in
which Italian literature has changed over the last thirty years, they examine the influence of women's writing in Italian, and acknowledge the belated recognition of its importance.
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Peter Hainsworth lectured in Italian at Hull and Kent Universities before moving to Oxford in 1979. He remained there until he retired in 2003. He has published widely on medieval and modern Italian literature, including Petrarch the Poet (1986). He reviews regularly for the Times Literary Supplement. His translations of selected works of Petrarch were published as The Essential Petrarch (Hackett Publishing) in November 2010. Peter Hainsworth and David Robey co-edited the Oxford Companion to Italian Literature (2002). David Robey lectured in Italian at Oxford University before becoming Professor of Italian at Manchester and then Reading University. He has published on 15th-century Italian humanism, language, and style in Dante and Renaissance narrative poetry, and the computer analysis of literature and modern critical theory. He is the author of a computer-based study on Sound and Structure in Dante's 'Divine Comedy' (OUP, 2000), and an extensive data resource on Sound and Metre in Italian Narrative Verse. Peter Hainsworth and David Robey co-edited the Oxford Companion to Italian Literature (2002).
Preface ; Introduction ; 1. History ; 2. Tradition ; 3. Theory ; 4. Politics ; 5. Secularism ; 6. Women