[Milton-L] Great, unhappy souls

Dario Rivarossa dario.rivarossa at gmail.com
Wed Jan 27 12:41:15 EST 2010

In his “Dialogue between Nature and a Soul”, written in 1824, the poet and
essayist Giacomo Leopardi mentions Milton among the “great, unhappy souls”.
Leopardi admiration was not to be taken for granted, since Milton wrote in
order to “justify the ways of God to men”, while the Italian poet was an
atheist; indeed the only avowed atheist among the fathers of Italian
literature: Dante, Petrarca, Manzoni etc. He was at loggerheads with the
Christian writers of his times, and not only them, but he obviously noticed
that Milton had something different to tell than theology. In fact, in Italy
Milton has always belonged to counterculture. Hints to PL, however warped,
can be found in Leopardi’s “History of Mankind”, in that same collection
called “Operette morali” (Little moral writings).
Last but not least, Leopardi’s philosophy anticipated Nietzsche’s, who knew
his works.
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