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Giosuè Alessandro Michele Carducci

Born July 27, 1835(1835-07-27)
Valdicastello di Pietrasanta, Tuscany, Italy
Died February 16, 1907 (aged 71)
Bologna, Italy
Occupation Poet
Nationality Italian
Notable award(s) Nobel Prize in Literature

Giosuè Alessandro Michele Carducci (July 27, 1835 – February 16, 1907) was an Italian poet and teacher. He was very influential [1] and was regarded as the official national poet of modern Italy [2]. In 1906 he became the first Italian to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.



He was born in Valdicastello, a small town in the northwest corner of Tuscany in Province of Lucca. His father, a doctor, was an advocate of the unification of Italy. Because of his politics, the family was forced to move several times during Carducci's childhood, eventually settling for a few years in Florence.

From the time he was in college, he was fascinated with the restrained style of Greek and Roman antiquity, and his mature work reflects a restrained classical style, often using the classical meters of such Latin poets as Horace and Virgil. He translated Book 9 of Homer's Iliad into Italian.

He graduated in 1856 from the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa and began teaching school. The following year, he published his first collection of poems, Rime. These were difficult years for Carducci: his father died, and his brother committed suicide.

In 1859, he married Elvira Menicucci, and they had four children. He briefly taught Greek at a high school in Pistoia, and then was appointed Italian professor at the university in Bologna. Here, one of his students was Giovanni Pascoli, who became a poet himself and later succeeded him at the university.
Carducci was a popular lecturer and a fierce critic of literature and society. His political views were consistently opposed to Christianity generally and the secular power of the Catholic Church in particular.

I know neither truth of God nor peace with the Vatican or any priests. They are the real and unaltering enemies of Italy.

he said in his later years.[3]

This anti-clerical revolutionary zeal is prominently showcased in one famous poem, the deliberately blasphemous and provocative "Inno a Satana" (or "Hymn to Satan".) The poem was composed in 1863 as a dinner party toast, published in 1865, then republished in 1869 by Bologna's radical newspaper, Il Popolo, as a provocation timed to coincide with the 20th Vatican Ecumenical Council, a time when revolutionary fervor directed against the papacy was running high as republicans pressed both politically and militarily for an end of the Vatican’s domination over the papal states.[4]

While "Inno a Satana" had quite a revolutionary impact, Carducci's finest poetry came in later years. His collections Rime Nuove (New Rhymes) and Odi Barbare (Barbarian Odes) contain his greatest works.[5]

He was the first Italian to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, in 1906. He was also elected a Senator of Italy.[6] Although his reputation rests primarily on his poetry, he also produced a large body of prose works[7]. Indeed, his prose writings, including literary criticism, biographies, speeches and essays, fill some 20 volumes.[8] Carducci was also an excellent translator and translated some of Goethe and Heine into Italian.

He died in Bologna at the age of 71.

See also



  1. ^ Baldi, Giusso, Razetti, Zaccaria, Dal testo alla storia. Dalla storia al testo, Torino, 2001, vol. 3/1B, p.778: "Partecipò intensamente alla vita culturale del tempo e ... sostenne infinite polemiche letterarie e politiche".
  2. ^ Giulio Ferroni, Profilo storico della letteratura italiana, Torino, 1992, p.780: "Si trasforma in poeta ufficiale dell'Italia umbertina".
  3. ^ Carelle, A., Naturalismo Italiano, Draghi, Padova 1911, cited at
  4. ^ Carducci, Giosuè, Selected Verse/ Giosuè Carducci: edited with a translation, introduction and commentary by David H. Higgins, (Aris & Phillips; Warminster, England), 1994. See also: Bailey, John Cann, "Carducci - The Taylorian Lecture," (Clarendon Press, Oxford) 1926.
  5. ^ One prominent English translation is The Barbarian Odes of Giosuè Carducci, translated from the Italian by William Fletcher Smith, (Manasha, Wisconsin: George Banta Publishing Co., 1939). The translation is reviewed in Dismukes, William Paul (March, 1940). "The Barbarian Odes of Giosuè Carducci by William Fletcher Smith". Italica 17 (1): 29–30. ISSN 00213020. 
  6. ^ Scalia, Samuel Eugene (1937). Carducci. New York: S.F. Vanni. 
  7. ^ Tomasin, Lorenzo (2007). "Classica e odierna". Studi sulla lingua di Carducci. Florence: Olschki. 
  8. ^ Selections from Carducci; Prose and Poetry with introduction, notes and vocabulary by A. Marinoni. New York: William R. Jenkins. 1913. vii-ix. 

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Giosuè Carducci (July 27, 1835 – near Lucca, February 16, 1907) was an Italian poet, one of Italy's greatest, and a teacher. He was very influential and was regarded as the unofficial national poet of modern Italy.


Hymn to Satan

written in 1865.

Inno a Satana

To thee of All Being /A te, de l’essere
The First Cause immense /Principio immenso,
Of matter and spirit, /Materia e spirito,
Of reason and sense /Ragione e senso;

Whilst in the full goblet /Mentre ne’ calici
Shall sparkle the wine, /Il vin scintilla
So bright the pupil /Si’come l’anima
The souls of men shine, /Ne la pupilla

Whilst earth still is smiling, /Mentre sorridono
And the sun smiles above, /La terra e il sole
And men are exchanging /E si ricambiano
Their sweet words of love, /D’amor parole

Thrills mystic of Hymen /E corre un fremito
Through high mountains course, /D’imene arcano
And broad plains are heaving /Da’ monti e palpita
With life's fertile force, /Fecondo il piano;

On thee in verse daring, /A te disfrenasi
From tight rein released, /Il verso ardito,
On thee I call, Satan, /Te invoco, o Satana
The King of the feast. /Re del convito

-lines 1-20 (as Printed by the Nobel Prize Library)

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