It Depends: A Poet’s Notebook

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.” Professor G. Singh, head of the department of Italian language and literature at The Queen’s University of Belfast, comments in his introduction to this bilingual edition: “It is the essence of Montale’s modernity that in spite of its dependence on pun and parody, satire and sarcasm, it is firmly rooted in the fundamental sobriety and integrity of his character…. He has not only tried, but tried supremely well to acquire ’a modern soul,’ and what he has paid for so dearly is our gain as well as his, a lesson for us––both morally and poetically.”

Buy from:

Paperback (published December 1, 1980)


Clothbound (published December 1, 1980)


Eugenio Montale

20th Century Italian poet and Nobel laureate