Eugenio Montale

Eugenio Montale was born in 1896 in Genoa. As a young man he wanted to become a singer, but his studies came to an end when his teacher died and he was called up for military service. After the war, in which he served as an infantry officer, he became a literary critic at Primo Tempo, a Turin magazine which had published some of his early writing. He published his first major work, Ossi di seppia in 1925, and has published in all five major collections—L’occasioni (1939), La bufera e altro (1956), Satura, including Xenia (1971), and Diario del ’71 e del ’72 (1973) being the other four. From 1928–38 Montale lived in Florence where he worked at the Gambinetto Vieusseux Library, a job he lost for his refusal to join the Fascist party. He turned to translation to earn his living and translated works by Hopkins, Shakespeare, Melville, Emily Dickinson, Thomas Hardy and T. S. Eliot among others. From 1948, he lived in Milan and served as the literary and musical critic for Corriere della Sera and as consultant to the Italian publisher, Mondadoni. He died in 1981.

It Depends: A Poet’s Notebook

Nonfiction by Eugenio Montale

Eugenio Montale’s It Depends: A Poet’s Notebook (Quaderno di quattro anni, 1977) appeared in Italy during the Nobel laureate’s eighty-second year. The sardonic force of his shrewd observations of the contemporary scene remains unblunted even as the poet has become more involved with the everyday, more private, more self-revealing. Since the publication of Ossi di seppia (Cuttlefish Bones, 1925) over fifty years ago, the importance to our identities of links with the past has been a recurrent theme in Montale’s work; here it gains even greater prominence as the poet attempts to find catchholds and constancies in an unstable world, finally to accede to “precariousness the muse of our time.…
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New Poems of Eugenio Montale

Poetry by Eugenio Montale

Eugenio Montale’s New Poems—a selection in English translation from Satura (1971) and Diaro del ‘71 e del ‘72, the 1975 Nobel Prize-winning author’s most recent collections—represents a new departure in this major poet’s work. After the death of his wife, Mosca, Montale wrote a series of poems, Xenia, inspired by his memory of her, which in terms of technique, style, and language are unique in Italian literature. In addition to Xenia and other poems evoked by the poet’s wife, this volume includes witty, ironical, and satirical pieces in which Montale displays his flair for linguistic innovation as well as his sharp critical intelligence.…
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Selected Poems of Eugenio Montale

Poetry by Eugenio Montale

With a contribution by Eugenio Montale

Acclaiming the late Eugenio Montale (1897-1981) as “one of the most important poets of the contemporary West,” the Swedish Academy awarded him the 1975 Nobel Prize for Literature. This selection, introduced by Glauco Cambon, presents sixty-nine poems chosen from Montale’s first three books––Ossi di seppia (Cuttlefish Bones), Le occasioni (The Occasions), and La bufera e altro (The Storm and Other Things)––as rendered by sixteen translators, many of them distinguished poets in their own right.…
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Eugenio Montale is an ideal recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature: a writer preeminent in his own country whose values are simple and universal.
—London Times Literary Supplement
What Montale has stood for throughout his long life is above all intelligence and what he calls ‘decenza quotidiana.’ He may be classified as a lyric poet––and as the finest of Italian lyric poets since Leopardi––but he is also a poet for whom intelligence matters more than sentiment, and common decency more than any high-flown political or metaphysical allegiance. Montale is in this respect a contradiction: a wonderfully varied and resourceful poet who holds essentially prosaic values.
Times Literary Supplement
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