Primer Of Italian Literature (1893) by Snell, Frederick John (1862–1931)
"This Primer does not profess to present a complete account of Italian Literature, and it would be idle to expect unanimous approval of the names inserted or of those which have been left out. This is, however, only an elementary work, and it will be easy to supply inevitable deficiencies from more ambitious volumes. The book will have fulfilled its object, if it prove serviceable to those for whom it is primarily designed." (Preface)
"Snell's Primer will fill a place long unoccupied. It is a useful manual, giving a brief outline of the field of Italian letters. It makes no pretension to completeness, but gives just what every cultured man would wish to know before he sets out to study the subject thoroughly. A large amount of reliable information is here compacted into readable form by a man whose judgment is unbiased, and who, without indulging in indiscriminate laudation, is generous to all.
The book is well bound, and well printed on good paper. Names of authors are printed in black-faced type, and the titles of works in italics; a simple device of inestimable service to the reader in such a book. If abstracts of particular books had been printed in smaller type it would have added some convenience in this direction." (R. W. Moore, The School Review, 04/1894)
"Those who are familiar with Saintsbury's useful "Primer of French Literature" will be glad to make the acquaintance of a similar convenient handbook for Italian. Mr. Snell gives a general view of the outstanding facts and features of Italian literature from the beginnings down to the late nineteenth century, discussing the precursors and contemporaries of Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio, the drama, the romantic epic, the Golden Age (prose-writers, poets, dramatists), the Marinists and Arcadians, the forerunners of the Revolution, the tragedians and the Meli, the Revolution and the Reaction, and Romanticism and Pessimism, with a concluding chapter. An index of writers is provided. As might be gathered from the title, no attempt is made to give a complete, detailed account of Italian literature. As a helpful summary of the main features, however, particularly for those who can not read Italian, the volume has no superior in brevity, accuracy, and judicious comprehensiveness." (The Journal Of Education, 22/09/1921)
A History Of Italian Literature (1898) by Garnett, Richard (1835–1906)
"This is the fourth in the series of "Literatures of the World", edited by Edmund Gosse, who has already treated the English perhaps as ably as could be hoped in the four hundred and fifty pages to which these volumes are limited, while Professor Dowden has been happy in equal measure in his treatment of French and Gilbert Murray has given a good account of ancient Greek. But perhaps none of these volumes were so needed, and surely none of those that are to follow will fill a gap so long and profoundly felt in our historical literature as this volume of Dr. Garnett's. It has been possible for the busy man of literary tastes to get a clear general view of the classical literatures?of the English, French, and German in his own tongue and with the perspective that an English point of view implies. So far as we know, this has not been possible in the case of Italian until now, and Dr. Garnett has filled the requirements of such a manual so admirably that his success is likely to deter rather than to attract imitation, so that his book may well remain unique for many years.
It is just here that Dr. Garnett shows at once his discretion and his mastery of the subject. It would have been easy to have given a third of his book to Dante, who holds probably considerably more than that proportion of space in the Italian department of the minds of most of his readers; but, as he says in his Preface, he is not dealing with individual genius, but with Italian literature as a whole. He is less concerned with the greatness of the man than with his influence on letters, and he is probably right in saying that from this point of view Dante is actually less significant than Petrarch or Boccaccio; and, if many lesser men find a place in his narrative that they have not in the mind of his critic, we for our part are reasonably sure that the fault is ours, and we finish Dr. Garnett's book with the feeling that we do not know Italian literature as it becomes a scholar to know it, nor as well as we thought we did or as we still think we know the literature of France or Germany or Spain. Dr. Garnett has not only revealed new talents and new beauties, he has correlated the old knowledge by these new links, and has produced a compendium that is useful even to the professional student of literature.
Altogether Dr. Garnett is to be congratulated on having done creditably a useful and needed task, and the English-speaking peoples are the richer by a readable and judicious history of a literature to which they are perhaps directly indebted in a higher degree than to any other." (B. W. W., The Sewanee Review, 10/1898)
A History Of Italian Literature (1903) by Trail, Florence (1854–1944)
"THE plan of this History groups the writers into four classes. To those of the first importance I have devoted a biographical sketch and an analysis. Those of the second class are represented by a biographical sketch and a translation. The third class have only the sketch; and the fourth are mentioned in passing, or in foot-notes. The chronological grouping is believed to be natural, as the overlapping of each period is the transcript of the fact. The simple form into which I have thrown my data and reflections adapts the work for a text-book in Colleges and Schools of every grade, and also commends it as a book of ready reference to the general public.
As this is, probably, the most voluminous Literature in existence, my principle of selection must be stated. I have endeavored to omit all that does not carry forward the intellectual thought, or tend to the unification, of the "nation". Out of the 37 poets who preceded Dante, we have 7 ; out of the 100 Latin poets of the Age of Leo X, 1 ; out of 660 sonneteers, 6 ; out of 5,000 Comedies, 9; out of the 70 poets between 1850 and 1885, 3; et cetera. Scarcely more than 200 writers are characterized in these pages. But in every case I have sought to select the representatives of every school and period.
As no similar review of this brilliant and fascinating literature has been yet attempted by an American, I have reason to believe my History will meet a want long recognized." (Prologue)
"This volume, despite its extent, is not a complete detailed history of Italian literature, but rather a history of the development of the thought of the Italian nation as expressed in its literature. As Miss Trail says in her preface : " . . .1 have endeavored to omit all that does not carry forward the intellectual thought, or tend to the unification, of the 'nation'. Out of the thirty-seven poets who preceded Dante we have 7 ; out of 660 sonneteers, 6 ; out of 5,000 comedies, 9; out of the 70 poets between 1850 and 1885, 3; et cetera. Scarcely more than 200 writers are characterized in these pages. But in every case I have sought to select the representatives of every school and period." This eclectic method gives free play to individual preferences, and though the pedantically-inclined may split hairs over the relative space given to some authors, or the omission of others, it must be said that the author has produced an interesting and informing book. Within the chronological treatment writers are considered under four categories, which means that, in order of importance, they receive a biographical sketch and an analysis, a sketch and a translation from some work, a sketch, or merely passing mention in text or footnotes. The great figures, of course, are given full discussion, and Miss Trail has enriched her pages with English translations of significant or noteworthy passages, many of the best examples being from her own pen. The book is a creditable addition to the Badger list of studies in literature." (The Journal Of Education, 30/12/1920)
Modern Italian Literature (1911) by Collison-Morley, Lacy (1875–1958)
"By the end of the sixteenth century the great literary and artistic movement of the Renaissance had spent itself in Italy, and with it the interest of the few people who still care for Italian literature in this country usually comes to an abrupt end. But if Agamemnon was not the first of the world’s heroes, neither Dante, nor even Tasso, was the last of Italy’s poets. It is true that she ceased to lead the way in literature. Her best energies were absorbed in other directions. But during the eighteenth century there was a steady revival. Literature became more and more modern and drew closer and closer to life as national feeling developed. This was thoroughly awakened by the French Revolution and finally took definite shape. With the restoration of Bourbon and Austrian rule in the peninsula. From that time national unity and independence became the ideal of all that was best in the country, and the artists and men of letters were among the most enthusiastic supporters of the cause. Hitherto the literary revival, which went hand in hand with the national revival, has had no share in the interest that the romantic story of the Risorgimento has recently aroused in England. It is true that in the period with which we are concerned Italian literature did not influence our own, but, on the other hand." (Preface)
Epochs Of Italian Literature (1920) by Foligno, Cesare (1878–1963)
"In the five chapters of his work Professor Foligno outlines in a most interesting way the Dawn of Italian Literature, the Renaissance, the Transition to Modern Times, the Rise of the Nation, and the literature of Modern Italy. No attempt is made to do other than provide an introduction to this fascinating field, to give that general view which may serve as a foundation upon which to build. That this intention exists is evident from the excellent list of authors and their works, arranged by periods, which Professor Foligno provides, in addition t.o the indispensable index. The accentuation of all Italian names is indicated, another concession to the "general reader." The volume will find welcome from all those who want an accurate, broadly-based, outline view of Italian literature without being subjected to the strain of too much scholarly impedimenta—and that is exactly what is provided by this well-written, well-rounded, interesting little handbook." (The Journal Of Education, 14/07/1921)
History Of Ancient Greek Literature
History Of Latin Literature
History Of English Literature
History Of Persian Literature
History Of Spanish Literature
Suggest and discuss books to read (all languages welcome!)
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