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Montale and the Occasions of Poetry

Montale and the Occasions of Poetry

Claire de C. L. Huffman
Copyright Date: 1983
Pages: 312
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7zvtmr
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  • Book Info
    Montale and the Occasions of Poetry
    Book Description:

    The six overlapping studies that make up this book on the poetry of Eugenio Montale analyze a large number of individual poems and, with Le occasioni (1939) as a point of reference, show how they shape and are shaped by changes and continuities that extend from the earliest poems of Ossi di seppia (1925) to the notoriously difficult poems in his culminating achievement, La bufera (1956).

    Originally published in 1983.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5546-9
    Subjects: Language & Literature
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. vii-viii)
  3. PREFACE (pp. ix-2)
  4. CHAPTER ONE MONTALE, ELIOT, AND THE POETIC OBJECT (pp. 3-39)

    Literary criticism devoted to the poetry of Eugenio Montale has tended to stress similarities between his work and that of T. S. Eliot. One of the most influential formulations of this view is a 1948 essay by Mario Praz¹ asserting that affinities of “points of view” and of cultural inheritance account, at least in part, for the spontaneous growth of “like flowers”—The Waste Land(1922) andOssi di seppia(1925)—on “distant branches,” and that such resemblances predate literary contact between the two poets, which Praz effected. Eliot is reported to have recognized that he shared a “kindred inspiration...

  5. CHAPTER TWO TRANSITIONAL POETICS AND TRANSITIONAL POETRY (pp. 40-72)

    The decade and a half between the appearance in print ofOssi di seppia(1925) andLe occasioni(1939) was a crucial one for Montale. He became dissatisfied with certain aspects of his first volume of poetry and, in mulling over some of the adverse criticism it had received,¹ he made a deliberate effort to modify some of his poetic techniques, and moved in the direction of greater poetic concentration, elimination of rhetorical eloquence, suppression of irrelevant biographical elements, and, overall, a synthesis of form and expression. He summarized his goals by saying that he wanted to write perfect “poetic...

  6. CHAPTER THREE FROM OSSI DI SEPPIA TO LE OCCASIONI (pp. 73-113)

    The assumption that there is an unbroken line running through Montaleʹs poetry, from the earliest printed work through at leastLa bufera(1956), has characterized most critical approaches to his writing. The nature of that line, however, has not been unanimously agreed upon, even by critics who have made extensive use of Montaleʹs own remarks about poetry and his own writing. Some of these comments exist as declarations made within poems, and thematic critics have tended to base their interpretations on them. Others appear in his literary essays, but, because of their often polemical or occasional character, are not always...

  7. CHAPTER FOUR THE DEVELOPMENT OF A DRAMATIC MODE IN LE OCCASIONI (pp. 114-157)

    Critics are generally agreed that those poems of the final and major section ofLe occasionithat were written in the late 1930s make use, for the first time in Montaleʹs output, of historical events—in some way—and are important for a proper understanding ofLa bufera. For some, this change in poetic content is important; for others, any such change is ultimately unimportant, for the resultant poetry remains, overall, exquisitely formal.¹ Of the two groups of critics, the second has made the greater contribution to understanding Montale, showing, for instance, the necessity of deep familiarity with all his...

  8. CHAPTER FIVE “FINISTERRE” (pp. 158-193)

    The fifteen poems comprising the “Finisterre” section ofLa bufera e altrofirst appeared together in the small volumeFinisterre(Lugano: Collana di Lugano, 1943), but it was not until they were collected in Montaleʹs long-awaited third major volume of poetry in 1956 that they received much critical attention. When they did, one of the dominant critical trends was to observe that the pressures of the war years had acted as a catalyst in Montaleʹs poetic development, precipitating a new political poetry that judges experience; another focused on a consistently nonpolitical poetry that completed longstanding, internalized, formalist tendencies. Gianfranco Contini...

  9. CHAPTER SIX “GLI ORECCHINI”: FROM “SCOMPOSIZIONE” TOWARD “RICOMPOSIZIONE” (pp. 194-236)

    Before the appearance ofSaturain 1971¹—poems collected in this volume appeared in print over the course of the 1960s—literary critics, inspired by the appealing triad formed by Montaleʹs poetic publications and by the sheer span of time involved, had tended to see an overall tripartite configuration. To some, the poetry seemed to form a simple and deliberate counterpoint to historical events in this century; others tried to define three stages of thematic or stylistic development, and still others stressed a development in content, for example Montaleʹs transcendence of his early skepticism and isolation by a move toward...

  10. NOTES (pp. 237-284)
  11. INDEX (pp. 285-293)
  12. Back Matter (pp. 294-294)