About the authors: Lynne Press is Head of Italian Studies at Queen’s University, Belfast. Her published work on Leopardi includes essays on Pope, Matthew Arnold and Tasso in relation to Leopardi, and a study of the Leopardian substrata to Ungaretti’s Allegria. Other publications include the theme of metamorphosis in Inferno XIII and a volume in honor of Bigongiari’s eightieth birthday.
Pamela Williams is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Italian at the University of Hull. Her published work on Leopardi includes An Introduction to Leopardi‘s Canti (second edition, 1997) and essays on Leopardi’s love poems, Canto notturno and La ginestra. Other publications include articles on St. Francis of Assisi and the themes of love and stoicism in Dante and Petrarch.1999 0-7734-7929-5
This is the first comprehensive study in English on the role of female characters and feminine imagery in Leopardi. It offers a multi-faceted approach, places his views on women in context, examines thematic concerns, formal practices and ideological positioning of the time, and focuses on the impact of contemporary women writers such as Madame de Stael and Madame de Lambert on Leopardi’s philosophical writings and literary theory. It brings together biographical, philosophical and literary aspects of Leopardi’s works in relation to the notion, influence and depiction of women and feminine images. With illustrations
“All the basic questions of Leopardian criticism are clearly and persuasively reviewed. Press and Williams have produced a perceptive work on Leopardi’s poetry tout court, its genesis in the culture of the Enlightenment, and its literary sources with particular reference to Madame de Stael. . . . the book contains the fullest study of this subject in recent years and will be compulsory reading for anyone interested in it. Most importantly, the book does not look at Leopardi from a narrow feminist or post-feminist standpoint. . . . There is . . . much close textual analysis of the major cants to endear Williams and Press to generations of students.” – Italian Studies
“. . . very thoroughly researched and clearly and interestingly written. . . . an original contribution to scholarship. . . .the book will attract the attention of Leopardi scholars internationally. While the authors eschew the more strident forms of feminism fashionable in academic circles, they sensitively explore the role of women in Leopardi’s life and works and the pervasive presence of female figures in his poetry. Particularly pleasing is the way in which Williams and Press situate Leopardi in both an Italian and a European tradition.” – Brian Moloney