Pensieri di varia filosofia e di bella letteratura
Thoughts on miscellaneous philosophical themes and on
General tendencies in literature.
Tendencies in Italian literature compared in its various
Not the Beautiful absolutely, but the true, i.e. any kind
of imitation of nature, is the proper object of the fine arts.
e di nuovo 3
Not the useful but pleasure is the end goal of poetry and
the fine arts.
General tendencies in literature, with specific application
to or examples from the Italian one.
On the literary vices of scholars from the good and
classical centuries, before they became common vices in the centuries of
Difficulty of avoiding affectation and the vices of writing
nowadays, compared to that of the ancients and the classics.
Theoretical system of the fine arts.
Difficulty of performing artificially and willfully the
natural and ordinary functions of life, applied to the excessive art found
presently in literature.
Difficulty of achieving true imitation in general.
Whether the prototype of the beautiful is to be found in
Exaggerations in sentences or expressions familiar and
proper to the French language, style or writers, given as proof of the
affectation dominant in that nation.
Too much consideration of danger and the effort of avoiding
it brings it upon, or else nothing is done; how this observation applies to
modern literature in comparison with the ancient.
Comic power and character of Plautus.
Ovid's art of imagery.
In French pronunciation the imitative sound of many written
words has been lost.
In translations, how to interpret certain words that are
either deliberately coined by the author or distorted from their original
Poetic sublimity of the Bible compared to that of the
profane classical poets.
The effectiveness of expressions is often nothing more than
On the style, poetry, and merits of Monti's
Comparison between reason and nature.
Regarding Lodovico di Breme's articles on
The greatest difficulty of art is hiding art and achieving
naturalness; applied to the discourse on romanticism.
There is no imitatation of nature unless it is done with
naturalness; observation applied to romanticism.
Comparison of the descriptive mode used by Ovid and by
modern descriptive poets with the one used by Dante.
Useful and pleasurable.
On the opinion of Longinis regarding the lack of greatness
in the spirit and writing of his time. Its cause is established to be the
progress of reason and of knowledge. This progress and the exile of the
illusions produce barbarity. On the feelings and behavior of Cicero, and the
events in Rome following Caesar's death.
Reason's divisive effect on society.
The love of wonder goes back to the same source as the
hatred of boredom.
It is with reason and not by whim that the most ancient and
obscure centuries are considered of utmost heroism.
Eloquence in lyric recognized in Petrarch, who is favored
in this respect over Horace and everyone else. The copiousness, simplicity,
familiarity, and general nature of Petrarch's style.
Critique of Testi's poetry.
Affectionate style in Petrarch.
Critique of Filicaia's poetry.
Critique of Chiabrera's poetry.
Images and accidental effects which sometimes are born from
the expressions of poets and other writers, without being sought by them,
like that of the sponge Protogenes threw on his Ialysos.
The prophetic in Filicaia's style.
Chiabrera's best songs are nothing more than beautiful
Critique of Guidi's poetry.
Zappi is the only one comparable to Anacreon in Italy and
Critique of Manfredi's poetry.
Comparative critique of Italian poets.
Every being is content with itself, except for man.
Popular songs in Recanati between 1818-20.
On Paciaudi's opinion that prose is the mother of
The effect of love on a shy girl.
About a peasant who was crying watching his ox being
The most eloquent Italian pieces are certain Petrarchan
canzoni and various writings by Tasso. The eloquence of speaking about
The flexibility of the French language serves to express
things, not to sculpt them, as the effectiveness of the Italian language
Whether the name of the letters should be "be" "ce", etc.
or "bi, ci", as pronounced in Tuscany.
A simile to appropriately express the effect of Anacreon's
The present taste for philosophy is not a chance, nor a
passing thing, as it was in other times.
Beautiful prose needs to have something poetic.
Technicalities of modern prose.
Laziness of the tortoise in proportion to the length of its
"Testa" for head, as it should be said.
The means of imitation proper to any art should not be
naturally discordant among themselves, nor poorly combined; otherwise art is
barbarous in itself. Opera in music. Tragedy in verse.
Italianisms of Celso.
Critique of the book de Arte dicendi attributed to
Poetic image. Remembrances of my childhood.
Monti, a poet by style, imaginative, unhappy in feeling,
translator and copyist in almost all of his original poems. His
Enmity of nature and reason brought to agreement by
A case in which it is barbarous to follow reason and
unreasonable to follow nature; Religion in that case is on the side of
Recompensing a great gift or benefit with a small one
because of ignorance or a blunder; how detestable this is to the benefactor
and how much better it would have been to not recompense in any way.
Singular ancient and modern men. How little it takes today
to consider someone extraordinary.
A saying by Bacon that all faculties reduced to art become
sterile; its application to poetry. Originality of the ancients; inevitable
servility of modern poets.
Immortality of man inferred from his inevitable unhappiness
in present life, and from suicide.
A quip or play on words.
Difference between attic and ancient wit and the French and
the modern; what it consists of.
On vernacular Latin. Very ancient Latin words unused by the
golden writers and used by those of the low period and by the vulgar
The more we account for time the less it seems we have; the
more we neglect it, the more it seems that we have left.
The beginning of a letter of thanks to a person who had
praised me in print.
Attic grace. The grace of a language is something different
from its other qualities. It can only be derived from a language actually
used in speaking.
Greek term used in common Italian.
Why those who are afraid tend to sing. The false courage of
many consists in dissimulating or diminishing suffering in their
imagination. The eὐφημία of the Greeks, the Latins and the Italians.
The Greeks did not study Latin.
Italian words that are modified by Latin pronunciation have
lost their imitative sound.
Our immortality deduced from our present
Comparison between the Greeks at the Thermopylae and our
sufferings, especially recently. Spartan mothers similar to the Christian.
The heroism of patriotism similar to the religious one. Religion resurrects
The bad treatment of their novices on the part of certain
priests. The envy I felt towards those who seemed to have easily attained
what I did after many efforts.
Habit seems nature: and so the bad taste in literary
matters and the poor manner of writing seem natural because of habituation.
Way of convincing oneself of the contrary. Difficulty nowadays of following
nature, which is no longer our habit; the ease of following habit in every
Grace is not proper to the French language, but the French
boast about it in every line.
Opposition is often reason for wanting and doing more than
you would have done if there had been no opposition. A material
It is reasonable to allow Italians to derive words and
moods from Latin, while denying them to do that from other sister languages.
Barbarity of Greek words in modern languages. French language considered in
this context. Republican terms.
The fable of the peacock ashamed of its feet is contrary to
nature. The variety of the beautiful. There is no absolute ugliness, nor a
species of animals that seems ugly to itself, or disgusting and the
An excuse for the above-mentioned fable.
On deriving new words from the already known native ones.
On deriving them from Greek.
Inaffectation and similar qualities can also become
A poetic image. Remembrances from my childhood.
The illusions are the most real pleasure.
The illusions, being natural, are in some way real
Variety is such enemy of boredom, while uniformity is its
Definition of a good man.
Future life deduced from the unhappiness of the
The alphabet generally considered is much richer in
elementary sounds than it is believed.
Personification of echo; example of the amiability of Greek
Which objectives and intentions should the poet or writer
hide in order to escape affectation; definition of the latter.
The artifice of many modern writers in hiding the true
reasons for many moral effects noted by them. Reducing things to their
principles. Simplicity and a small number of elementary things both in the
moral and in the physical worlds. Proposal for a system where all moral
effects are referred to their original causes.
The imitation of the Greeks hurt the originality of Latin
literature and poetry no less than the Italian was hurt by the imitation of
the Latins and the Greeks. The great field of originality that the Romans
had. Qualities added or substituted in the Greek style by the
Elementary sounds of speech are missing from our alphabet
or other ones. On the Galic "u". A hypothesis on how it became adopted by
Few care to gain love at the price of hatred for another.
To what extent and why is hatred more effective than love.
Poetic or extravagant images.
Perhaps man would be happy living naturally. Proofs. But
today man is incapable of this happiness. Man is not deprived of instinct by
nature but loses it because of art. The difference between man's life and
that of the other animals is the result of circumstances, not of
The ancient poets leave a lot to the reader, how and why.
They describe or narrate naturally.
Our true idylls are the so-called rustic poems.
Children's imagination compared to the poetry of the
Self-love directed towards oneself is the origin of vices,
when directed towards others, that of virtues.
We don't read of any prince to have committed suicide
because of desperation with life, whereas it would befit princes to do so
more than others.
Teachers, even of math, should have a poetic mind.
Everything has been perfected since the times of Homer
except for poetry.
Attic or ancient wit and French or modern wit.
On Sannazzaro's saying that man is as miserable as he
considers himself to be.
The effects of love. This more than any other passion
abstracts the soul from any other object.
Disgust felt at the nonsense or baseness of others, when
one is truly in love.
Love increases the feeling of life and is the vivifying
principle of nature, as opposed to hatred.
Dante and Petrarch are much less superfluous and a lot more
spontaneous with rhymes than all of the authors from the 16th
Two similes uncommon among poets.
Sweet illusions that are born from the knowledge and
solemnity of anniversaries.
Eloquence in talking about onself. On the Apology by
Lorenzino de' Medici.
Daring in poetry and in eloquence often consists in the
vagueness of expressions or images.
Practice among the Latins to take words and phrases from
Greek, and among the Italians from French.
On the simplicity of Xenophon's writing.
In the battle of Isso, Dario placed the mercenaries in the
front, Alexander in the back. Both were Greeks. Reflections about this
On the ridiculous consisting of things and on the one
consisting of words.
The true and perhaps only hopeful utility of comedy should
be to instruct the young, the inexperienced and the unreflective on the
nature of social life and of men.
The sweetness of imagining everything like the ancients
On an effect that the reading of novels produced in
The way a good man was called by the Greeks and by the
Romans, considered to be telling of the opinions, state, and character of
Pain due to misfortunes or loss of property is lightened by
the thought of necessity. The example of a child.
Hatred of life conjoined at the same time with the fear of
losing it and with the care to conserve it. My own example. That becoming
aware of the unhappiness of being is something against nature.
Observation from which could be gathered that fear is more
fecund with illusions than hope is.
Pignotti's fables decline from the goal and nature of
Aesop's, and are rather little moral satires, as are many of Lucian's
dialogues and inventions.
Female birds are less pretty than the male. Also among
humans the male sex is actually more beautiful than the fair sex.
Love of glory, of freedom, and other such sentiments are
usually confused with the love of fatherland.
An observation showing that speaking is never divorced from
some bodily movement made solely because of speaking.
Exquisite judgment of the Greeks shown by the old age
attributed to Charon.
Being born is a mortal and great danger for man but not for
the other animals. A sign of our corruption.
On the verse invenies alium si te hic
Infinite vainness of truth.
Hatred is sweeter than indifference. The latter is
extremely rare in the natural state, but most common and almost constant in
On the names of the letters of the alphabet.
Poetic thought in verse.
Joy tends to expand, sadness to restrain and contract, both
morally and physically.
Difference between Petrarch's simplicity and that of the
Greeks. The familiarity of Petrarch's style.
Self-contempt is a great stimulus to suicide. The love of
life is nothing but the love of one's own good.
I don't like to speak to the people I esteem in the
presence of others, and why.
Perhaps the number of individuals in the animal species is,
naturally and generally speaking, in inverse proportion to their
Crime is sometimes heroism; sometimes it promises well of
the person committing it. Also, the sacrifice of virtue by someone who
values it is a kind of heroism and greatness of spirit.
The pain that is born of boredom is more tolerable than
Revenge is so appreciated that often we want to be insulted
in order to take revenge. The same can be said of hatred, even without
Everything is nothingness, even the desperation that is
born from knowing and feeling this truth, even pain.
A kind of envy I have experienced.
Why an unexpected boon is dearer than one hoped
A thought by Madame de Staël who condemns the abuse by the
romantics of the terrible and of the extraordinary which are not in harmony
with the habits and nature of almost any reader.
An aspect of nature in autumn.
Variety and contrast of the qualities of each individual of
the Southern nations, and the reason for this variety.
The pleasure of the vague is of such nature that it cannot
be satisfied, yet it is much greater than any defined pleasure: so far are
these from being able to satisfy and fulfill.
75e di nuovo ivi.
[and there again.]
The happiness available to man consists in a tranquil life,
animated by a certain and quiet hope for future well-being, and calmly
Civilization introduced labors that are harmful and
discontinued those useful to the health of the body and of the human
Ancient pain. Its great difference from the modern. Whether
poets and artists should or can fittingly treat ancient subject matters
where there is emphasis on the passions. Sensitivity was not proper to the
ancients; it is a natural effect of our modern circumstances, but it is not
innate in us: it is a remedy prepared by compassionate nature for our
present, although not natural, unhappiness. How unreasonable it is to accuse
ancient poets and writers of lacking feeling and to devalue the ancients
because they lacked it. They did not, however, lack other noble and sweet
passions, nor other great delights of the spirit which we lack. The
consolation of the ancients was not in misfortune itself, as it is in some
way for us.
Music imitates feeling in person, compared to poetry and to
architecture. A passage by Staël on the subject.
Poetic thoughts in verse.
Christianity has made men worse insofar as, without
extinguishing the passions, it has openly opposed them to its principles.
The nature of wickedness in the middle ages differs from the ancient and
from that in recent times. This difference is partially attributed to
On an artifice that gives effectiveness to style;
exemplified by a passage in the Roman Nights.
Danger reconciles us with life. My own example. The leap
from Cape Lefkada.
The trivialities and weaknesses of genius. Book XIV of
Ignorant and cold men usually do not feel envy towards
genius ones, because they do not esteem them nor believe them superior to
themselves, bur rather inferior. They will envy them only when they see them
esteemed, which cannot happen in small and ignorant places. The kind of
passions that men of genius awaken in others in such places. Refer to the
cited book in Corinne.
Influence and relation between the physical systems and
doctrines and the metaphysical. The example of the Copernican
Bored and discouraged with life I did not have the force to
cry and to suffer, except when I was more cheerful than usual.
Iambic satyrical Latin verse on the name of Pius taken from
Feelings I've experienced while considering the universal
Hope is no longer capable of making us happy after we have
experienced and lost happiness.
Superficial or weak sensations of enthusiasm are gladly
communicated, with the hope to increase them; communicating profound ones is
avoided, nor is it possible.
A passage in Corinne condemns the ignoble poetizing of the
romantics and the excessive truthfulness and minuteness of their
Progress of the effects of misfortune in the individual.
The self-hatred to which they lead. Evil joy and smiling about one's own
evils and about death itself; final result of desperation.
Pain and desperation in misfortune among the ancients,
children, the ignorant.
Painful or terrible or unpleasant thoughts and sensations:
why they are often sought and accepted voluntarily. A passage from
The idea and horror of the ancients about where destiny
comes from. This explains the same effect on magnanimous and imaginative men
in modern times.
The epigrammatic of French spirit and conversation is
necessarily communicated to all their writings, whose character it forms.
French style is not capable of any other naturalness than that of their
conversation, which is not among the most natural. The praised naturalness
and grace of La Fontaine. French language is exalted as very simple, but it
is incapable of translating Xenophon and some of the most simple and plain
classical authors. Translations by Amyot. Perhaps easier understood by an
Italian than by an uneducated Frenchman.
Knowledge of several languages helps the facility, clarity
and precision of thinking, of conceiving, of fixating and determining one's
ideas to oneself.
The expressive sound of certain words created sometimes by
On our word "troia" which is hypothesized to be an ancient
vernacular Latin word.
Joy, feelings, and enthusiasm are the proper effects of
fleeting vigor. The bodily strength of the ancients must have given rise to
many spiritual pleasures and sensations of enthusiasm, especially in
Displeasure of not being able to participate in
conversations that interest us or are about things that we know as much or
better than those speaking about them in our presence.
It is false to claim that the moment of rejoicing is suited
for obtaining nothing, except for favors that can be done or granted
instantly. It is rather most inopportune for everything else, and why so.
Neither the times of joy nor of pain predispose us to compassion or to
interest in someone else. Rather, the times of indifference do so, and all
the more those of enthusiasm without a definite objective or of joy without
a specific cause.
Making someone interested in our misfortune when they are
in a similar state is, not just not easy, as they say, but impossible.
Perhaps it is easier to get interested someone who has experienced it in the
The only real thing are the illusions, and phantoms the
Property of ancient poets to leave a lot to the reader,
which is, among other things, reason for the great beauty of their poetry,
descriptions, images and ideas, i.e. the beauty of the indefinite and the
vague. The opposite effect is created by the modern and romantic exactitude
in making descriptions.