Giovanni Berchet


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Berchet, Giovanni

 

Born Dec. 23, 1783, in Milan; died Dec. 23, 1851, in Turin. Italian poet.

Berchet was one of the founders of Italian romanticism. In his “Half-serious Letter From Golden Mouth to His Son” (1816), Berchet asserted that poetry should be national, reflect nature, and not depend on the rules of aesthetics of French classicism. Berchet’s poems are pervaded by motifs of the national liberation struggle; hatred for the Austrians, scorn for traitors, and pain for his enslaved homeland resound in them (in the narrative poem Refugees From Parga, published in 1823, and Romances, 1822–24). In his narrative poem Fantastic Dreams (1829), the inaction of Berchet’s contemporaries is contrasted to the glorious struggle waged by their forefathers. These lyric-epic works sometimes had a sentimental tone. There is a more courageous sound in the ode “To Arms” (1831). Berchet also wrote critical articles and translations.

WORKS

Opere, vols. 1–2. Bari, 1911–12.

REFERENCE

Storia della letteratura italiana, vol. 7. In L’Ottocento. Milan, [1969].

N. G. ELINA