Leopardi's Italians, Then and Now

LUCREZIA ZAINA BEQUEST LECTURE 2014 with Tim Parks.
In 1826 the poet, essayist, and philosopher, Giacomo Leopardi wrote his ‘Discorso sopra lo stato presente dei costumi degl'italiani’ - discourse on the present state of morals in Italian - where he put forward an elaborate explanation for the unique nature of Italian life and society. He suggests that though although apparently backward in many regards, Italians were in fact the most modern of peoples in terms of their collective cynicism. In this lecture, the novelist, translator and author, Tim Parks, will draw on Leopardi to offer his own insights into contemporary Italy and ask how much has changed since the early 19th century and how much has remained the same.

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