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Operette Morali: Essays and Dialogues (Biblioteca Italiana) Paperback – 1 Jul 1992

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4.5 out of 5 stars 2 reviews from Amazon.com

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"Leopardi was Italy's premier romantic poet and one of the great literary figures of 19th century Europe. . . . In "Operette Morali, he presents a series of stunning dialogues and essays that are as unique, penetrating and blackly humorous as Kafka's parables or Beckett's plays."--"San Francisco Examiner-Chronicle

About the Author

Giacomo Taldegardo Francesco di Sales Saverio Pietro Leopardi (June 29, 1798 - June 14, 1837) was an Italian poet, philosopher, essayist and philologist. He is widely acknowledged to be one of the most radical and challenging thinkers of the 19th century

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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting Fables of Disenchantment 18 July 2008
By Luca Graziuso and Marina Ross - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
"Leopardi is one of the greatest of poets and prose writers, and like Kleist and Baudelaire, a truly original, devastating sensibility. Nothing is more overdue than a proper edition of Leopardi in English."
-- Susan Sontag

Fiabe che incantano. Melodie filosofiche di una strana saggezza che tradisce i metodi antichi in un dialogo strumentalizzato dal'epicentro del cuore stordito da illusioni intelletuali. Poesia in prosa.

The translation here is adequate, and just as sharp as the earlier rendition by Betram Dobell but not as stellar as the Columbia University Press scarce edition entitled "The Moral Dialogues" where Patrick Creagh's modern version is still the best one available. The above quotation of Sontag is referring to the Creagh translation. However it bears mentioning that this is the only version I have ever encountered that has the original Italian alongside the English. Giovanni Cecchetti is a fine man of letters and interprets the tone of the tales and dialogues well. His introduction and notes are very helpful and fill some gaps a lay reader will likely have. All in all, by the by the best choice out there.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that's worth more than what is costs. 27 Feb. 2005
By Alex - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Operette Moralli is quite humorous some times. A more accurate translation of the title would be "small ethical works," but the current title is more truthful to the actual content. Giacomo Leopardi's work deals with subjects like suicide, egoism of men, the role hope plays in out lives, the genius's fate, similarities between fashion and death (I was as surprised as you are but he's actually right!), pleasure, happiness, poetry, philosophy, death, love, etc.

I think his humorous dialogues show much more invention and wit than other, more serious, essays. Although seriousness pervades every work it's not always visible. The hopelessness and pessimism that runs through most of the Operette Moralli may not suit the style of most people. But hopelessness here is the result of strength, and it's done with no hatred. Some of his opinions are surprisingly contemporary.

There are better books out there in my opinion, but this is still a very good book, and as Leopardi himself notes: "... books now are mostly written in less time than one needs to read them, and you see very well that since they cost what they are worth, they also last in proportion to what they cost."
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