Monti, Vincenzo(vēnchān`tsō mōn`tē), 1754–1828, Italian poet and dramatist. Under French rule he became official historiographer of the Italian kingdom and later accommodated himself to Austrian rule as well. Among his many works the best known is the epic Bassvilliana (1793), on the assassination of the French envoy Hugo Basseville at Naples. He is also remembered for his tragedies, among them Aristodemo (1787; tr. by Fanny Burney, 1818), and for the epic Il bardo della Selva Nera (1806), dedicated to Napoleon. His translation of the Iliad (1810) was greatly admired in his day. It is the more remarkable because Monti knew hardly any Greek. He was called the "great translator of the translator of Homer."
Born Feb. 19, 1754, in Alfonsine, near Ravenna; died Oct. 13, 1828, in Milan. Italian neoclassical poet.
Monti received a classical education. Often changing his political allegiance, his verses, narrative poems, and dramas extolled first the Catholic Church (The Penance of Hugon: A Vision of the French Revolution, 1794), then the French Revolution and the patriotic ideals of the Italian “Jacobins “(Fanaticism, 1797; For the Liberation of Italy, 1801; the tragedy Cains Gracchus 1804, Russian translation, 1882), Napoleon (Prometheus, 1797; The Bard of the Black Forest), and, finally, the Hapsburgs (Mystic Homage, The Return of Astraea).
Monti’s translation of Homer’s Iliad in 1810 is of great artistic value. Among his contemporaries his works enjoyed great popularity, which waned, however, by the mid-19th century.
WORKSOpere, 6 vols. Milan, 1839–42.
Opere. Milan, 1953.
REFERENCESDe Sanktis, F. Istoriia ital’ianskoi literatury, vol. 2. Moscow, 1964.
Allevi, F. V. Monti. Florence, 1954.