A Short History of Italian Literature

A Short History of Italian Literature

A Short History of Italian Literature

A Short History of Italian Literature

Excerpt

The present book is intended to be exactly what its title suggests: A Short History of Italian Literature. It is a history, and hence aims at giving a historical (and primarily chronological) presentation of the development of Italian literature, from the beginnings to modern times, rather than an aesthetic or other type of non-historical discussion. It is brief, and hence gives only a summary treatment, without going into great detail on any single author or book: the reader who is interested in a more detailed presentation may be referred to the exhaustive discussions in the works listed in the Bibliography. My primary concern is with Italian literature, understood in the broad sense of the term (and including works written in Latin or other languages by Italian authors, especially during the Renaissance); I have included a certain amount of other literatures (particularly Latin, Old Provençal, and Old French) to provide an adequate background where necessary. The book is designed primarily for the use of Americans -- students and others -- who wish an introduction to Italian literature; for their benefit, discussion of non-literary factors (historical, economic, social) has been included wherever it seemed useful. No claim is made to any kind of originality at all; my aim has been exclusively to present a brief and reasonably readable survey of what is known and generally accepted concerning the history of Italian literature.

This work is the realization of a dream I have had ever since beginning the graduate study of Italian literature at the University of Chicago in 1932. In 1944-5, I wrote a survey article on Italian literature and a number of brief articles on individual authors for the Encyclopaedia of Literature, edited by Dr. Joseph T. Shipley (New York, Philosophical Library, 1946). These articles have served (by kind permission of Dr. Shipley) as a basis for the present book, which was first prepared in connection with a course in Italian literature given by me at Cornell University in 1948-9. Thanks are due to Dr. Shipley for permission to use the material contained in the Encyclopaedia of Literature, and also . . .

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