The Italian Idea by
Publication Date: 2019-12-19
From 1815 to 1823 the Italian influence on English literature was at its zenith. While English tourists flocked to Italy, a pervasive Italianism coloured many facets of London life, including poetry, periodicals, translation, and even the Queen's trial of 1820. In this engaging study Will Bowers considers this radical interaction by pursuing two interrelated analyses. The first examines the Italian literary and political ideas absorbed by Romantic poets, particularly Lord Byron, Leigh Hunt, and Percy Bysshe Shelley. The second uncovers the ambassadorial role played in London by Italians, such as Serafino Buonaiuti and Ugo Foscolo, who promoted a revolutionary idea of their homeland and its literature, particularly Dante's Commedia. This dual-perspective study reveals the cosmopolitan challenge to Regency mores embodied in both the work of Italian literary exiles in London and the English poetic engagement with Italy.