Passions

Giacomo Leopardi; Translated by Tim Parks

View Inside Price: $26.00


October 7, 2014
232 pages, 5 x 7 3/4
ISBN: 9780300186338
Cloth

Selections from Leopardi’s prose masterwork, Zibaldone, one of the great intellectual diaries in European literature, expertly translated by Tim Parks

Revenge—Revenge is so sweet one often wishes to be insulted so as to be able to take revenge, and I don’t mean just by an old enemy, but anyone, or even (especially when in a really bad mood) by a friend.—from Passions
 
The extraordinary quality of Giacomo Leopardi’s writing and the innovative nature of his thought were never fully recognized in his lifetime. Zibaldone, his 4,500-page intellectual diary—a vast collection of thoughts on philosophy, civilization, literary criticism, linguistics, humankind and its vanities, and other varied topics—remained unpublished until more than a half-century after his death. But shortly before he died, Leopardi began to organize a small, thematic collection of his writings in an attempt to give structure and system to his philosophical musings. Now freshly translated into English by master translator, novelist, and critic Tim Parks, Leopardi’s Passions presents 164 entries reflecting the full breadth of human passion. The volume offers a fascinating introduction to Leopardi’s arguments and insights, as well as a glimpse of the concerns of thinkers to come, among them Nietzsche, Dostoyevsky, Wittgenstein, Gadda, and Beckett.
Giacomo Leopardi (1798–1837) was a prolific writer, translator, and thinker in Italy during the years of European upheaval that followed the French Revolution. He became a fluent translator of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, earned high regard as the “first modern Italian classic poet,” and is also esteemed for his diverse prose work. Tim Parks is the author of fifteen novels, including Europa, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize; four acclaimed memoirs of life in contemporary Italy; and other nonfiction works. He runs a postgraduate degree program in translation at IULM University in Milan and has translated works by Moravia, Calvino, Calasso, Machiavelli, and numerous others.

‘Courage, morality, egoism, happiness, the ancients, civilisation, hope, faith, compassion, memory, sensibility, national character, theories of art – Leopardi has interesting things to say about all of them.’ —Robert Carver, the Tablet.

‘…these brilliant reflections are a moving study of isolation and loneliness.’—Catholic Herald.
 

‘Rendering Leopardi into English presents formidable challenges … Parks, is well aware of these challenges; his brilliant “Translator’s Note” will become indispensable to anyone interested in Leopardi, traduttore.’ - Joseph Luzzi, Times Literary Supplement
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