Ippolito Pindemonte, (born November 13, 1753, Verona, Republic of Venice [Italy]--died November 18, 1828, Verona), Italian prose writer, translator, and poet, remembered for his pre-Romantic lyrics and particularly for his highly prized translation of the Odyssey.Born into a noble and cultivated family, Ippolito Pindemonte was educated at a college in Modena and then traveled in Europe. He published a volume of Arcadian verse, Le stanze (1779), and one of lyrics, Poesie campestri (1788; "Rural Poetry"). Both showed a sensitivity to nature and the influence of the contemporary English..
Giovanni Pontano, Latin Jovianus Pontanus, (born May 7, 1426, Cerreto di Spoleto, near Perugia, Papal States [Italy]--died September 1503, Naples), Italian prose writer, poet, and royal official whose works reflect the diversity of interests and knowledge of the Renaissance. His supple and easy Latin style is considered, with that of Politian, to be the best of Renaissance Italy.Pontano studied language and literature in Perugia. From 1447 to 1495 he served the Aragonese kings of Naples as adviser, military secretary, and, after 1486, chancellor, an office he handled with great distinction...
Lorenzo Da Ponte, original name Emmanuele Conegliano, (born March 10, 1749, Ceneda, near Treviso, Veneto [Italy]--died Aug. 17, 1838, New York, N.Y., U.S.), Italian poet and librettist best known for his collaboration with Mozart.Jewish by birth, Da Ponte was baptized in 1763 and later became a priest; freethinking (expressing doubts about religious doctrine) and his pursuit of an adulterous relationship, however, eventually led, in 1779, to his expulsion from the Venetian state. Taking up residence in Vienna (probably in 1780), he became official poet to the court of Emperor Joseph II..
Ugo Foscolo, original name Niccolo Foscolo, (born February 6 [January 26, Greek calendar], 1778, Zacynthus, Venetian republic [now Zakinthos, Greece]--died September 10, 1827, Turnham Green, near London, England), poet and novelist whose works articulate the feelings of many Italians during the turbulent epoch of the French Revolution, the Napoleonic Wars, and the restoration of Austrian rule; they rank among the masterpieces of Italian literature.Foscolo, born of a Greek mother and a Venetian father, was educated at Spalato (now Split, Croatia) and Padua, in Italy, and moved with..
Judah Leone ben Isaac Sommo, also called Leone De Sommi Portaleone, original name Yehuda Sommo, (born 1527, Mantua [Italy]--died 1592, Mantua), Italian author whose writings are a primary source of information about 16th-century theatrical production in Italy.Sommo wrote the first known Hebrew drama, Tzahut bedihuta de-qiddushin (1550; "An Eloquent Comedy of a Marriage"), in which characters such as the pining lover, the comic servant, and the crafty lawyer reflect the influence of the Italian commedia dell'arte. Sommo's experience as a playwright and producer of dramas for various..
Gianfrancesco Straparola, (born c. 1480, Caravaggio, duchy of Milan [Italy]--died after 1557), Italian author of one of the earliest and most important collections of traditional tales.Straparola's Piacevoli notti (1550-53; The Nights of Straparola) contains 75 novellas (short prose tales) that were later used as source material by William Shakespeare, Moliere, and others. It drew from folk tradition and introduced into European literature some 20 fairy tales, among them what would eventually be known as "Beauty and the Beast" and "Puss in Boots." Straparola's tales were drawn from..
Carlo Cassola, (born March 17, 1917, Rome, Italy--died Jan. 29, 1987, Monte Carlo, Monaco), Italian Neorealist novelist who portrayed the landscapes and the ordinary people of rural Tuscany in simple prose. The lack of action and the emphasis on detail in his books caused him to be regarded as a forerunner of the French nouveau roman, or antinovel.After studying at the University of Rome, Cassola fought with the Resistance during World War II. The period formed the background of some of his best-known works, among them the short-story collection Il taglio del bosco (1955; "Timber Cutting")..
Claudio Magris, (born April 10, 1939, Trieste, Italy), Italian writer, scholar, and critic who was one of the leading writers and cultural philosophers of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.Magris completed his studies at the University of Turin, where he also taught from 1970 to 1978. Thereafter he taught German literature at the University of Trieste. His numerous studies have promoted central European culture and the literature of the "Habsburg myth." He translated works by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen as well as works by Heinrich von Kleist, Arthur Schnitzler, and many other..
Luigi Capuana, (born May 28, 1839, Mineo, Sicily [Italy]--died Nov. 29, 1915, Catania), Italian critic and writer who was one of the earliest Italian advocates of realism. Capuana influenced many writers, including the novelist Giovanni Verga and the playwright Luigi Pirandello, who were his friends.Born of a wealthy Sicilian family, Capuana studied law for two years at the University of Catania. Thereafter, he lived in Florence, was a drama critic for La Nazione, and familiarized himself with the writings of Honore de Balzac, Emile Zola, and other French naturalists. Following a seven-year..
Anton Francesco Grazzini, byname Il Lasca (Italian: "The Roach"), (born March 22, 1503, Florence [Italy]--died Feb. 18, 1584, Florence), Italian poet, playwright, and storyteller who was active in the linguistic and literary controversies of his day.Apparently educated in vernacular literature, Grazzini in 1540 took part in the founding of the Accademia degli Umidi ("Academy of the Humid"), the first literary society of the time. He was a contentious individual and became known as Il Lasca ("The Roach," a fish well known to anglers for putting up a good fight). He retained the name even after..
Giovanni Battista Cavalcaselle, (born January 22, 1820, Legnano, kingdom of Lombardy and Venetia [Italy]--died October 31, 1897, Legnano, Italy), writer on art and, with Giovanni Morelli, founder of modern Italian art-historical studies.A student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice, Cavalcaselle from early youth studied the art treasures of Italy. In Germany (1846-47), he met another art enthusiast, the Englishman Joseph Arthur Crowe, and they studied together in Berlin. On his return to Venice, Cavalcaselle took an active part in the Revolution of 1848 against Austrian rule. He was..
Gian Giorgio Trissino, (born July 8, 1478, Vicenza, republic of Venice [Italy]--died Dec. 8, 1550, Rome, Papal States), literary theorist, philologist, dramatist, and poet, an important innovator in Italian drama.Born into a wealthy patrician family in Vicenza, a cultural centre in his time, Trissino traveled widely in Italy, studying Greek in Milan and philosophy in Ferrara and frequenting Niccolo Machiavelli's literary circle in Florence before settling in Rome. There he associated with the humanist Pietro Bembo, became close friends with the dramatist Giovanni Rucellai, and served..
Cesare Zavattini, (born September 29, 1902, Luzzara [Reggio Emilia], Italy--died October 13, 1989, Rome), Italian screenwriter, poet, painter, and novelist, known as a leading exponent of Italian Neorealism.Born into a humble family, Zavattini completed a law degree at the University of Parma and began a career in journalism and publishing. He wrote two successful comic novels--Parliamo tanto di me (1931; "We Talk a Lot About Me") and I poveri sono matti (1937; "The Poor Are Crazy")--before he began supplying stories for the Italian cinema. His first film treatment became Mario Camerini's..
Curzio Malaparte, pseudonym of Kurt Erich Suckert, (born June 9, 1898, Prato, Italy--died July 19, 1957, Rome), journalist, dramatist, short-story writer, and novelist, one of the most powerful, brilliant, and controversial of the Italian writers of the fascist and post-World War II periods.Malaparte was a volunteer in World War I and then became active in journalism. In 1924 he founded the Roman periodical La Conquista dello stato, and in 1926 he joined Massimo Bontempelli in founding 900, an influential, cosmopolitan literary quarterly whose foreign editorial board included James..