Giuseppe Ungaretti


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Ungaretti, Giuseppe

 

Born Feb. 10, 1888, in Alexandria, Egypt; died June 1, 1970, in Milan. Italian poet.

Ungaretti studied in Paris for a short period beginning in 1912 and became friends with G. Apollinaire, P. Valéry, and the Italian futurists. From 1915 to 1918, Ungaretti fought in World War I. His work first appeared in 1915; in 1916 he published the collection The Buried Port, which became the core of the collection The Merriment of Shipwrecks (1919). Ungaretti published an expanded version of this second collection in 1931 and 1936 under the title of Merriment.

The principal themes of Ungaretti’s work are loneliness, the tragic quality of life, and man’s need for human contact. His poetry is characterized by laconic phrasing, a rejection of rhyme, the association of images, and great simplicity of language. Ungaretti was one of the founders of the hermetic school of poetry. During the 1930’s, the pessimistic motifs in his verse came to the fore in the collection A Feeling of Time (1933). In the cycle Occupied Rome (1943–44), the poet voiced the feelings of the entire people in poems such as “Stop Killing the Dead,” which is dedicated to the heroes of the resistance movement. The collection Sorrow (1947) reflected a crisis in Ungaretti’s poetry. Elements of “unpoetic reality” appeared in his late poems.

Ungaretti became chairman of the European Community of Writers in 1962.

WORKS

Vita d’un uomo: Tutte le poesie. [Milan-Verona, 1969.]
In Russian translation:
[“Stikhi.”] In Iz Ital’ianskikh poetov. Foreword by A. Surkov. Moscow, 1958.
[“Stikhi.”] In Ital’ianskaia lirika: XX vek. Foreword by A. Surkov. Moscow, 1958.

REFERENCES

Potapova, Z. M. “Soprotivlenie i sud’by ital’ianskoi literatury.” In Literatura antifashistskogo Soprotivleniia v stranakh Evropy, 1939–1945. Moscow, 1972.
Portinari, F. G. Ungaretti. Turin [1967]. (Contains bibliography.)
Piccioni, L. Vita di un poeta G. Ungaretti [Milan, 1970.]

Z. M. POTAPOVA

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