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notably Eliodoro Lombardi, Ragusa justice the Belgians resent the like
that stood for weakness in that re-
these fragile blossoms of song appear Lombard Antonio della Porta. It must
one day and disappear the next in that
blighting wind of indifference which be admitted that the outlook to-day is
has so long prevailed from the Alps of not more encouraging than it was a the north to the slopes of Etna. decade ago; perhaps less so, since Car- (“Nell' Arte e nella Vita.") ducci is now all but silent, and the mature writers of the younger group.
Nevertheless, there is evident an with the exception of Giovanni Pas- awakening of public interest in nacoli, reveal no advance
tional literature, probably in some dethey achieved before 1890. It has been gree because of the "commemorations" pre-eminently the period of D'An. celebrated near the close of the cen. nunzio and the D'Annunzieggianti,” tury, with their stirring historical remthough the fame of this writer is per
iniscences and inspiring literary assohaps greater throughout the continent ciations-Amerigo Vespucci, Paolo Tosthan in the peninsula, where he is still canelli, Savonarola, Leopardi, Bernini, looked upon somewhat askance, as a and others. From the standpoint of clever bot audacious and refractory letters the period is notable for the ward is looked upon by an anxious
immense stride in Italian and Euroguardian. With justice, too, the Ital- pean reputation made by one writer, lans resent the frequent assertion Gabriele D'Annunzio. In one year, in abroad that Gabriele D'Annunzio the twelvemonth comprising the otherstands alone as representative of the wise somewhat barren period 1898-9, Intellectual Italy of to-day, as with this writer's amazing output included
· Signor Baccelll 1. Dow Under Secretary of State, and, in bis two spheres of influence, one
of the outstanding personalities of the younger generation.
the three long dramas published in in Webster, in Ford, in Beaumout and book form, “La Città Morta," "La Fletcher. Gioconda," and "La Gloria,” and the We cannot in this article further distwo shorter dramas separately issued
D'Annunzio's achievement in as the "Sogno d'un Mattino di Prima imaginative drama, nor his work in vera” and the "Sogno d’un Tramonto this respect as compared with that of d'Autunno.” “La Gioconda” and “La Arrigo Boito, Felice Cavallotti, SevCittà Morta” have been read and dis-, erino Ferrari, Cossa, and above all cussed throughout Europe; and the Giuseppe Giacosa. But the drift of former has been acted in London and the most authoritative opinion, foreign Paris as well as in the chief Italian and native, is that D'Annunzio has recities. "La Gloria,” D'Annunzio's vealed no compelling genius, perhaps. most ambitious dramatic attempt, was not even a genuine talent, for the unsuccessful on the stage; and, though drama, except as a form of literary some of the leading Italian critics expression. All the faults and shortspoke of this strange, not to say some- comings of this perplexing writer are what enigmatic play with high praise, of a nature to render nugatory his amtheir appreciation was never endorsed bition to become “the Wagner of the by that of the public. Already known drama." His latest effort, “Francesca as a poet and novelist, D'Annunzio da Rimini," bas signally failed on the had now challenged criticism as stage; but its beauty and charm, and dramatist. But while radical differ- above all its vividness, are brought ences of opinion exist as to the sig. out by perusal in book form. The nificance and value of his achievement drama, moreover, should be read as in this direction, there can surely be the first of the "Malatesta" trilogy. little question as to the wealth of im- The author has practically finished the aginative energy and the continual second of the series, “Parisina"; and miracle of art poured forth in these is now at work upon the third, “Sigis. dramas, most notably perhaps in that mundo Malatesta." sombre and terrible play of the buried The close of the nineteenth and the city, which (with one or two excep- dawn of the twentieth century were tions) has been so inadequately con- not wholly engrossed by “the Deputy sidered by English critics; or in “La for Beauty”—to adopt M. de Vogüé's. Gioconda," of which an eminent Ital- phrase and the D'Annunzieggianti, ian critic, Guido Biagi, has aptly said, though his fame was enhanced by the “In
any case 'La Gioconda' has furore which followed the publication brought into the theatre a breath of of "Il Fuoco"; by the announcement fresh and fragrant poetry, which of the long-expected volume of mature might have come from the blossoming verse, “Laudi del Cielo, del Mare, della gardens of the Renaissance"; or in Terra, e degli Eroi," and of the forththat masterpiece of poignant beauty, coming “Francesca da Rimini"; by the the “Dream of a Spring Morning," public readings and actual publication where, in combined loveliness and ter- of the first instalment of the lyrical ror, we find something akin to that epic, “La Canzone di Garibaldi." AD Elizabethan magic we prize so highly important new book, besides a volume of notable essays and addresses, by ual life of the nation, we might have Antonio Fogazzaro; "Poemetti,” a sec- added that in yet another vital respect oud collection of lovely verse by Gio- the writers of Italy are seriously afvanniPascoli, whose “Myricæ" con- fected. In no other European country, tains some of the most charming of with the possible exception of Spain, contemporary Italian poetry, and is there so marked a divergence bewhose idyllic muse has gained him the tween the language of letters and the title, “il Virgilio di nostro tempo"; Vit- language of common use, between littoria Aganoor's “Leggenda Eterna"; erary and colloquial speech. The the exquisitely chiselled "Primavera “reading-public" in Italy is amazingly Fiorentina” of Severino Ferrari, of small in relation to the population, if some of whose earlier work Carducci
8 The first and third of a dramatic quartet called “I Sogni delle Staglool" (Dreams of the Four Seasons), of which the "Sogno d'un Merigglo d'Estate" and "Sogno d'una Notte d'inverDO" are as yet uppublished.
• Notably Domenico Tumiati, Antonio della Porta, Angelo Orvieto, Diego Angell, Angelo Conti.
we compare it with that of France, wrote, “If Petrarch were among us Germany, Holland, Scandinavia, Great to-day he would be proud of this”; Britain. But the ordinary speech of Arrigo Boito's much discussed “Ne- this relatively small reading-public rone”; Arturo Graf's “Morgana”; the is quite as distinct from literary dicbrilliant colloquial sonnet-sequence of tion as is, let us say, the vernacular of Cesare Pascarella; the new edition of London or New York from the orthe "Musica antica per Chitarra” of nate periods of Johnson, Gibbon, or Domenico Tumiati, foremost of the Macaulay; and, moreover, it has not "Symbolists"; the recently published even the vital connection which, in “Verso l'Oriente" of Angelo Orvieto, English, underlies the obvious diverthe young author of "Sposa Mistica"- gence. No wonder that Carducci, the these, and others whom it would be most polished living master of Italian, wearisome to enumerate, suffice tu is all but incomprehensible to many sbow both the vitality and variety of of his intelligent compatriots, who find the new “Risorgimento." Perhaps even Antonio Fogazzaro and Emilio the most significant indication of the De Marchi, Giovanni Verga and Maexistence of an Italian public really tilde Serao (the most vernacular of the interested in imaginative literature is eminent writers of the day) using a the publication, in a single volume at diction which in private life would a moderate price, of all the poetry of seem alien, if not wholly artificial. For Carducci; and the fact that this (for Italy is above all others the country of an Italian publisher) daring venture dialectical speech. That this barrier bas achieved a wide success. But the is being overcome, and that the di: true hope is here that all Young Italy rected efforts of the ablest writers and reproves despondency, and looks for- educationalists concur with the slow ward with courage and determination. but steady improvement of the mental It believes in itself, in its national vo- training of the masses (i.e. of all cation, in the national destiny; it classes, from the professional to the maintains the survival, within itself, poorest, even in densely ignorant Ca. of the ancient spirit of the ancient labria and remote Sicily), affords genius. “It sleeps, that antique spirit," promise that a truly great national litwrote Carducci many years ago, “t erature will in due time arise in Italy. sleeps, but is not dead; and as Fortunately there has always been the sleeper wakes, so shall it wake, and to connecting bridge of "popular literaa new day."
ture"-i.e, the colloquial and dialecti. When, some pages back, we spoke cal local poetry in which Italy has of the three chief deterrent influences ever been so rich. working on the intellectual and spirit- Like so many others of his countrymen now writing circumspectly of the lifelong effort to recreate in the Italian problems, the developments, and the vernacular the dignity and beauty of collective movement of Italian litera- the vernacular of Horace and Catulture, the late Ruggero Bonghi (whom lus, but as to wilful obscurity in point we specify as a representative critic) of metrical diction. The obscurity of did not realize that the so-called "pa- Carducci is not that of congested gan” or “barbaric" movement head- thought and crowded images, as in ed by Carducci was, and is, one of Browning; nor that of the dazzle of those inevitable life-seeking movements continual byplay, as in George Merewhich periodically occur in every liter- dith; nor again that of careful and calature, when old ways have become culated occultism, as in Mallarmé. It outworn; or, again, that a regenerative is rather the "obscurity” of extreme movement of this kind may have to light, such as that which the earliest turn backward in order to rediscover critics of Leconte de Lisle, Villiers de the forward way. A large part, pos- L'Isle-Adam, Baudelaire and Hérédia, sibly the greater and the more vital found in the classically pure diction of part, of contemporary Italian litera- those writers. Carducci has little in ture turns thus upon an apparently common with writers like Mallarmé, retrograde way, turns upon what is with whom he is often ignorantly comcalled the classical revival. The fa- pared. He is rather the Italian conmous veteran at Bologna is its ac- frère of Leconte de Lisle, of José Maria cepted leader. But neither Carducci Hérédia, but is more "human,” more nor his adherents (who now comprise of his day and hour, than the supreme nearly all the younger writers of note) French classicist in verse, and has a attempt a revival of the kind so often spiritual earnestness alien to the cold imputed. It is not mere imitation of beauty of M. Hérédia's “perfected the past that is the end in view, but, ivory.” At the same time it cannot be by discreetly following the same ave- denied that, both in remote allusion nues of art as those by which the great and in calculated Latinity of diction, poets of old reached their goal, to he is occasionally pedantic; and it reach in turn the same or a still higher would be easy to cull from his writings goal. To this end it was necessary to lines and even quatrains or passages break away from the conventions which would justify the complaint frewhich had so hampered, not to say quently heard in Italy that “Carducci devitalized, modern Italian literature. is difficult, often even unintelligible.” It was not thought or inspiration only Then, too, his Italian is so far from that had to grow new wings; not po- colloquial that even when clear to a etry only, but metre itself had to shed compatriot it is difficult to render adeits old chrysalis and break into a new quately in English, for sometimes the life.
difference is a constitutional difference In every new intellectual movement of racial genius as well as of speech, the feature of exaggeration is inevi- as, to choose at random an instance, table; without exaggeration no new
the final quatrain of the lovely poem, energy is likely to force its way. It “Su Monte Mario":was long, and to some extent still is,
Su le rovine de la basilica the wont in Italy to impute to Car
Di Zeno al sole sibili il colubro, ducci an almost perverse exaggeration,
Ancor canterai nel deserto not only as to his intellectual stand
I tedi insonni de l'infinito. point (that of a modern man consistently looking backward), or as to his But these occasional defects are mere
specks on the polished mirror of Car- maine," brought the French poet a ducci's poetry, at once so beautiful, so "cartel” from an indignant Italian padistinguished, so antique, so modern, triot, the once celebrated General the only poetry of to-day which can Pepe, be compared with that of Leconte de In a broad classification, then, as Lisle and Alfred de Vigny, with that already indicated, Antonio Fogazzaro, of the poet's greater predecessors, and Arturo Graf stand
the above all with that of his chosen mas- North, Giosuè Carducci and Giovanni ter, Catullus. Every great poet is in Pascoli for the Centre (and this not a sense a metrical inventor; and, with only in the geographical sense), and the exception of Mr. Swinburne, there Gabriele D'Annunzio for the South, as, is no living master of metre, particu- well as for that neo-paganism, neolarly of classical metres, comparable Hellenism, and very modern (and, we with Giosuè Carducci. In a word, it may add, world-old) hedonism which, is not by their exaggerations that we too often is the dignified verbal rais are to judge Carducci and the writers ment of a very unworthy thing, gen.. who follow his lead, or the intellectual erally more crudely designated. fellowships typified by Antonio Fogaz- Although Fogazzaro and Graf are. zaro, Arturo Graf, Ada Negri, Gio- the most distinctive of the northern, vanni Pascoli, or Gabriele D'Annunzio ers, they differ materially. The elderand the D'Annunzieggianti. All these and more famous is the François Milz bave to be judged by their range of let of Italian literature, but a Millet thought, the object of their aim, and of a far wider intellectual and æs. their actual achievement.
thetic range than the great FrenchThe student of Italian literature, man. The pathos and dignity of suffertherefore, will do well to put aside as ing, of sorrow, of the heavy burden irrelevant nearly all that he reads or bravely borne; the nobility of faith hears as to the “pseudo-classicism” of and courage; the beauty of simplicity Carducci and the rest who participate in life and art; the charm of tenderin that vital movement at the head of ness and the sustaining power of love which he stands. For it is a movement —these are the sources of this writer's of life, not of an artificially stimulated genius, both in prose and verse. But, erudition; a movement of fresh en- pure as is his Italian, virile and idioergy, not a spurred effort. It is in matic, the color of his mind is distinctruth part of a "movement,” of an up- tively northern, Teutonic. So might lifted life that is not confined to this a Scandinavian, an Englishman, a Ger.. or that leader and his following, nor man, write, were he equally gifted, and to Italy, nor even to the Latin coun- were he an adopted Italian, settled in tries, but is co-extensive with the hu- that northern Alpine region of the man mind, Already, we perceive, Italy lakes, so well loved, sung, and praised has left behind the conditions indi- by Fogazzaro. That gentle but allcated by Lamartine a once otori- pervading melancholy of his, too_so.
passage of the “Pèlerinage different from the disdainful stoicism d'Harold,” where she is alluded to as of Carducci, the batfied despair of
writers such as Ada Negri, the lifePoussière du passé, qu'un vent stérile
weariness of Graf, the ennui of D'Anagite,
nunzio, the hard pessimism of Rapia phrase which, with the added "Je sardi and Verga—is likewise northern. vais chercher ailleurs ... des hommes But it would be a mistake to think of et
pas de la poussière hu- Fogazzaro as a sentimentalist, not.