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date: 28 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Nietzsche claimed that Leopardi was the greatest prose writer of his century. It is to Leopardi that we owe the creation of modern Italian prose outside the world of novel writing. This important distinction presents us with a problem. Among the different genres of prose writing practised by Leopardi, novel writing is absent, nor is it an absence which can be easily passed over. Let us not forget that Leopardi, almost exactly contemporary with Balzac and only slightly younger than Stendhal, is as capable of observing and describing social phenomena and individual psychology. This chapter evaluates Leopardi’s prose by answering the crucial question: what are the implications of the fact that, in contrast to what happens in every other European country, the greatest prose writer of the century in Italy does not write novels?

Keywords: Leopardi, prose, fragment, style, novel, psychology, politics, morality, Italy

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