Questions tagged [italian-language]

Questions regarding literature originally written in Italian, regardless of whether they were written or published in Italy or elsewhere.

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What does "were with him when Divine Love first moved those fair things" mean in Dante's "Inferno"?

Towards the beginning of the Inferno, when the narrator encounters the leapord, lion, and wolf, we find this passage: The time was at the beginning of the morning; and the sun was mounting up with ...
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Did Augusto del Noce coin the phrase "the crisis of modernity"?

I first heard the phrase "the crisis of modernity" in a lecture on neo-Nazism. The phrase "Crisis of Modernity" doesn't have a Wikipedia page but Augusto del Noce, who wrote a book ...
5 votes
1 answer
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How did Dante know so much about geography and astronomy in his Purgatorio?

This answer on the History of Science & Maths SE says that Dante's Purgatorio contains a lot of what would now be considered "worldbuilding" which seems fairly advanced for the time: ...
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Why the phrasing "where the sun is silent" in Dante's "Inferno"?

I'm reading Dante's Inferno, and towards the beginning, I came across this line: And as one who is eager in gaining, and, when the time arrives that makes him lose, weeps and afflicts himself in all ...
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Why is Dante's Magnum Opus Called a 'Divine Comedy'?

I can see little reason for Dante to name his work a 'divine comedy.' At least with Inferno, I can better see it as a tragedy. Why did he choose to name his work as he did?
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What is the planet that "leads men straight on every road" in Dante's "Inferno"?

At the beginning of Inferno, Dante comes across a hill, which is being lit by the rays of a "planet": But at the far end of that valley of evil whose maze had sapped my very heart with fear!...
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What does this mean about the interpretation of Lauretta's song at the end of Day 3?

At the end of Day 3 of the Decameron, Lauretta sings the following song after dinner, at the request of the new "king" Filostrato: What dame disconsolate May so lament as I, That vainly ...
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Why is this chunk of the Decameron Day 3 Story 10 left untranslated?

In the Decameron Web full text of the Decameron and English, which uses the Rigg (1903) translation and is hosted by Brown University, a significant chunk of Day 3 Story 10 is left untranslated: ***...
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Meaning and significance of "cacheremo" in the Decameron?

In Day 3 Story 8 of the Decameron (Italian original), a prisoner in an abbey, who believes himself to be in purgatory, asks how far he is from his own country, and received the following reply: “And ...
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What is the meaning of "Zima" in the Decameron, Day 3 Story 5?

Day 3 Story 5 of the Decameron features a main character who is referred to by the name of Zima: Now there was then in Pistoia a young man, Ricciardo by name, of low origin but great wealth, who went ...
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Who was indignant at Dante’s behaviour to the sinners in the “Inferno”?

In several places in the Inferno, the narrator, representing the poet Dante, behaves badly to the sinners suffering in hell. In Canto VIII, Dante is being ferried across the marshy Styx, in which the ...
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What does "the ass and the wall are quits" mean?

This phrase is used at least twice in the Decameron: In Day 2 Story 9, when the merchants at the beginning of the story are boasting of their infidelity to their wives and justifying themselves by ...
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Who are these crescent saints?

In the Decameron Day 2 Story 7, the protagonist is a princess of "Babylon" who has numerous sexual misadventures after getting shipwrecked on the way to be married. She is, I believe, ...
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What is the provenance of Story 6 in Day 2 of the Decameron, set against a backdrop of 13th-century Sicily?

Day 2, Story 6 of the Decameron is set against a political backdrop of 13th-century Sicily: it begins with the defeat of King Manfred at Benevento by the new king Charles, and the main characters are ...
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Is Evil Hole / Malpertugio a realistic name for a district in Naples?

Day 2 Story 5 of the Decameron is set partly in a district of Naples with (at least in the English translation) a striking name that sounds comical and exaggerated. Here follows the translation I'm ...
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2 votes
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Evidences of Manzoni's influence on Dun Karm poems

According to Britannica Online Encyclopedia, Dun Karm is considered the national poet of Malta: Dun Karm, pseudonym of Carmelo Psaila, (born Oct. 18, 1871, Zebbug, Gozo, Malta—died Oct. 13, 1961, ...
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How much of the English history in this Decameron story has any basis in fact?

Day 2 Story 3 of the Decameron is a story which deeply involves the English royal family. I don't know how much contact there was between England and Italy in the 14th century, or how much care an ...
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1 answer
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What "always was and is the occupation of the Agolanti"?

In Day 2 Story 3 of the Decameron: There was formerly in our city a knight, by name Messer Tedaldo, of the Lamberti, according to some, or, as others say, of the Agolanti family, perhaps for no ...
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Was the Canterbury Tales directly inspired by the Decameron?

Both Boccaccio's Decameron and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales are 14th-century collections of short tales set within a frame story involving a group of people taking turns to tell stories one at a time. ...
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Italian "Verismo" story: a farmer knows his wife cheats on him but he pretends he doesn't know it to avoid troubles

I'm trying to find an Italian short story of the "Verismo" literary movement I read a long time ago and now I recall only partially: it's probably by Verga or Capuana or, less likely, ...
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1 answer
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How are the daily themes decided in the Decameron?

Wikipedia claims that the topic of Day 2's stories is decreed by that day's queen, Filomena: Filomena reigns during the second day and she assigns a topic to each of the storytellers: Misadventures ...
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What's the significance of Emilia's song at the end of Day 1 of the Decameron?

At the end of Day 1 of the Decameron, after the "crown" has been transferred from Pampinea to Filomena, they all have dinner together and then play music and dance. Emilia sings the ...
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Until what year was Machiavelli's The Prince banned in England?

Machiavelli's treatise The Prince, written in the early 16th century and first published in 1532, was placed on the Index of Prohibited Books in 1559. According to Robert Bireley, quoted on Wikipedia, ...
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What was the first picaresque novel in Italian literature?

The first picaresque novel in European literature was the Spanish novel Lazarillo de Tormes, which was first published in 1554. The section on the sources of Lazarillo de Tormes in the Wikipedia on ...
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Does Lauretta's rant reflect a real change in the style of jesters in 14th-century Italy?

In Day 1 Story 8 of the Decameron, narrated by Lauretta, she digresses to engage in a long rant about how jesters nowadays aren't what they used to be: [T]here came to Genoa a jester of good parts, a ...
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1 answer
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What is the connection between the chicken banquet and the king's intentions towards the marchioness?

Day 1 Story 5 of the Decameron is about a King who visits the estate of a Marquis and Marchioness during the former's absence with the intent of wooing the latter. She understands his intent and ...
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1 answer
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Boccaccio's portrayal of the Catholic Church

Day 1 Story 2 of the Decameron is essentially a searing satirical critique of the Catholic Church in Rome. A Christian man, Jehannot, is trying to convert his Jewish friend to Christianity; the Jew, ...
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1 answer
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Why are "Ser" and "San" left untranslated to "Sir" and "Saint"?

Day 1 Story 1 of the Decameron is about the knavish Ser Ciappelletto, who after his death becomes reputed as the holy San Ciappelletto. In the Rigg translation which I'm reading, these names are left ...
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Cappello, Cepparello, Ciapperello, Ciappelletto - what's it all about?

Day 1 Story 1 of the Decameron is about a very bad man who makes a false confession just before his death and ends up being lauded as a saint. This man goes by many closely related names, but I don't ...
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1 answer
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What was wrong with becchini?

From the introductory part of The Decameron, in Pampinea's speech that inspires the seven young women initially to decamp to the countryside, she speaks of the atmosphere in their city of Florence at ...
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What is meant by "traffic" in this list of men's activities?

In the introduction (proem) to the Decameron, the author spends some paragraphs writing about lovesick women and how he hopes his stories may give them some solace as their situation means they're ...
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1 answer
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What do the names of the Decameron characters signify?

The Wikipedia page for the Decameron claims (without citations) that: Boccaccio himself notes that the names he gives for these ten characters are in fact pseudonyms chosen as "appropriate to ...
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Do the young women and men of the Decameron represent the Virtues and sections of the soul?

The Wikipedia page on the Decameron claims that: Many details of the Decameron are infused with a medieval sense of numerological and mystical significance.[9] For example, it is widely believed[by ...
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What does the poet's introduction in Dante's Inferno mean?

In part 1 one of Dante's Inferno, "The Dark Wood", the narrator is introduced to a figure: At sight of him in that friendless waste I cried: "Have pity on me, whatever thing you are, ...
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2 votes
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Should I read the original text or the guide to the text first?

As the title states: if you have a guide book to reading an author or a specific work, should you read it before, after, or alongside the work itself? I've wondered this for a while in a general sense ...
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Social class in medieval Italian literature and its changes during the Renaissance

I'm very interested in how notions of class were reflected in medieval Italian literature and how these archetypes, tropes, motifs or whatever you'd like to call them changed during the Renaissance ...
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How do the available annotated version of Discources on Livy differ?

I saw this answer by Tsundoku from 2018. I was interested to learn how the available annotated versions differ.
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Why does Mussolini refer to war as female?

In the beginning of Chapter Three of his autobiography, Benito Mussolini writes the following: War had come — war — that female of dreads and fascinations. What is supposed to be conveyed by calling ...
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Where did Boccaccio refer to Dante's Comedia or Commedia as the Divine Comedy?

The English Wikipedia article about Dante's Divine Comedy contains the following paragraph, which contains a statement that has no source (emphasis mine): The work was originally simply titled ...
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Exploring heteroglossia in the semiotic novels of Umberto Eco

Heteroglossia is an interesting and thoughtful literary term introduced by the Russian linguist Mikhail Bakhtin in his “Discourse in the Novel” in 1934. Heteroglossia describes the coexistence of ...
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What is the context and origin of this Dante quote?

Can someone explain what this quote means and give a little context? You shall find out how salt is the taste of another man's bread, and how hard is the way up and down another man's stairs. -- ...
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Why does Petrarch's sequence of poems to Laura have three different titles?

Petrarch's celebrated sequence of 366 poems to Laura goes by three different titles. As far as I can tell, they're used interchangeably: Il Canzoniere, The Songbook Rerum Vulgarium Fragmenta, ...
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What did Dante mean by "Papè Satan, papè Satan aleppe" in the Inferno?

So, I was recently re-reading the Inferno, and I have come across this quote which I can't make sense of. "Papè Satan, papè Satan aleppe," (VII.1) It seemed rather weird that it wouldn't ...
4 votes
1 answer
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How much time did one canto in Dante's Divine Comedy represent (if any)?

Dante's Divine comedy is divided up in Inferno (Hell), Purgatorio (Purgatory), and Paradiso (Paradise) – each of these consists of 33 cantos. Now I'm wondering if there is any indication about how ...
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1 answer
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Numbering of Petrarch's sonnets

I have a question regarding the numbering of the Petrarch's sonnets. The Hungarian pianist and composer Franz Liszt transcribed for piano three of the Sonnets: 47, 104, 123. We can be sure of which ...
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1 answer
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Free will in Dante's Divine Comedy

I am reading Dante's Divine Comedy. In many cantos, souls predict Dante's future, and it is said that God knows everything past, present and future and that souls can enter heaven only if they are ...
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2 answers
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Have any of Angelo Beolco's works ever been translated into English or French?

Angelo Beolco, also known as Ruzzante, was a 16th-century actor and playwright. He is little known today, but when the Italian playwright Dario Fo was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1997, he ...
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Where in Alessandro Manzoni's the Betrothed are the scenes with priests ministering to plague victims?

I am interested in reading Alessandro Manzoni's novel The Betrothed as it has scenes of the plague in Milan which are very relevant to our current times. I don't have time to read the entire novel so ...
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Reference for Dante Quote

I have heard that the quote “The Devil is not as black as he is painted.” is due to Dante. Can someone please provide me a with a reference for this? I am guessing that it is somewhere in the Divine ...
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What's the source of Michelangelo's quote: "Trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle."?

Many quote Michelangelo as saying that "trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle." For example, the following passage is from the book Self-Help; with Illustrations of Character ...
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