The Napoleonic period was both classical and romantic. The poetry of Vincenzo Monti typifies the first direction, and the work of Ugo Foscolo belongs to the second. A distinguishing feature of Italian romanticism was its political involvement in the struggle for Italian independence, the Risorgimento. Poems, historical novels, and political works, such as Giuseppe Mazzini's, attest to this.
Alessandro Manzoni's literary conversion included the rejection of classical mythology in favor of Christian subject matter, and of classical tragedy for romantic drama. His historical novel, I promessi sposi (1827), which introduced the genre to Italy, combined social and psychological realism with Roman Catholic doctrine and established a new Italian linguistic norm and prose style. Giacomo Leopardi rejected the program of romanticism but wrote lyric poetry in which the romantic themes of despair predominate.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.