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Eugenio Montale: ‚Ossi de seppia‘

Stationen einer Identitätssuche

Georges Güntert

Pages 427 - 446

Eugenio Montale (1896–1981) is presently considered the most important poet of 20th century Italy. His first volume of poems, ‚Ossi di seppia‘ (Cuttlefish bones), published in 1925, appears to us as the experimental field of a poet in search of his own voice. By analysing two cycles of poems contained in the above-mentioned volume, we intend to provide an insight into the various stages of Montale’s poetic development. In ‚Sarcofaghi‘, Montale first compares his pessimistic attitude towards life with Keats’s aestheticism; he then considers death from a non-Christian point of view, positioning himself next to Foscolo and Leopardi; finally, he turns to his own creative work, assuming the mask of a sculptor looking out for new subjects. In ‚Mediterraneo‘, Montale deals with one of the main concerns of symbolism: he asks himself to what extent the communication between the poetic word and life is possible. In the thirties, Montale conceives a kind of „metaphysical poetry“, which is, however, only fully achieved with the invention of the myth surrounding the figure of Clizia.


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