Eugenio Montale

Montale, Eugenio (āōjĕˈnyō mōntäˈlā) [key], 1896–1981, Italian poet, critic, and translator. After working as an editor, Montale became chief librarian of the Gabinetto Vieusseux in Florence. His complex poetry expresses the tensions and disorders of 20th-century European culture, especially of Italian social and political life under fascism. Montale's pessimistic philosophy stressed that only the occasional moment of joy could give one a glimpse of salvation in the midst of one's hopeless existence on earth. Montale speaks with a stoic voice, one resigned to accept the absurdities and illusions of life. The collection Poesie (1958, tr. 1964) includes Ossi di seppia (1925), Le occasioni (1939), and La bufera e altro (1956). Montale's other works include The Butterfly of Dinard (1956, tr. 1971), a collection of book reviews and cultural criticism written for the newspaper Il corriere della sera, as well as Quaderno di traduzioni (1975), translations of T. S. Eliot, Shakespeare, Cervantes, and Corneille. Montale was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature in 1975.

See his collected poems, tr. by J. Galassi (1998, rev. ed. 2012) and ed. by R. Warren and tr. by W. Arrowsmith (2012); studies by G. Cambon (1972), G. S. Singh (1973), R. J. West (1981), and H. Thomas (2004).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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