Catastrophe and Other Stories

    By Dino Buzzati

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    This volume brings together twenty of the best stories written by Dino Buzzati – author of the celebrated novel The Tartar Steppe and one of the most original voices in twentieth-century literature – stories which show the Italian master’s taste for the bizarre and the humorous, and for exploring th…

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    Life of Dante

    By Boccaccio

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    Life of Dante brings together the earliest accounts of Dante available, putting the celebratory essay of literary genius Giovanni Boccaccio together with the historical analysis of leading humanist Leonardo Bruni. Their writings, along with the other sources included in this volume, provide a wealth…

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    Thoughts

    By Giacomo Leopardi

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    Admired for the poetical heights of his Canti, the gentle wit of his prose dialogues and the soul-searching questionings of his Zibaldone (Notebooks), Leopardi was also an acute social commentator and a sharp dissector of the human mind. Thoughts – a collection of philosophical and critical observat…

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    Vita Nuova

    By Dante Alighieri

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    The Vita Nuova, with its unusual blend of prose and poetry, is universally recognized as Dante’s early masterpiece and provides an indispensable prequel to The Divine Comedy. Set in thirteenth-century Florence, part autobiography and part religious allegory, it traces Dante’s quest to find a poetic…

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    The Prince

    By Niccolò Machiavelli

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    At the end of an industrious political career in conflictriven Italy, the Florentine diplomat Niccolò Machiavelli composed his masterpiece The Prince, a classic study of power and politics, and a manual of ruthlessness for any ambitious ruler. Controversial in his own time, The Prince made Machiavel…

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    The Divine Comedy

    By Dante Alighieri

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    Dante’s dramatic journey down the circles of Hell, up the mountain of Purgatory and through the spheres of Heaven in search of redemption – and his encounter with devils, monsters and the souls of sinners and saints – is one of the cornerstones of Western literature, the summit of medieval thinking…

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    Sonnets

    By Giuseppe Gioachino Belli

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    Set against the chequered background of Rome, the city of the six Ps – Pope, priests, princes, prostitutes, parasites and the poor – Belli’s sometimes scandalous sonnets deal with life’s elementals: love, death, sex, food, money, family, religion and politics. In his immense oeuvre, sampled here in…

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    Sonnets

    By Cecco Angiolieri

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    Cecco Angiolieri, the enfant terrible of Italian literature, loved women, gambling, food and wine. It is said that he found comfort for his bad luck at the dice and with Becchina, his unreciprocating lover, only by pouring venomous scorn upon his miserly parents. Cecco’s outbursts of rage against hi…

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    Sepulchres and Other Poems

    By Ugo Foscolo

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    Expressing the author’s political, civic and sentimental concerns, these poems will surprise the English reader with their immediacy and intimacy. “On Sepulchres”, Foscolo’s masterpiece, as well as being one of the pinnacles of European neoclassical literature, is still one of the most widely studie…

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    Secretum

    By Francesco Petrarch

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    By writing what he called a 'secret book' – taking the shape of a conversation between himself and St Augustine – Petrarch aimed to compose a cathartic text which would alleviate his spiritual crisis and help him make further inroads towards knowledge and fulfilment. At once an intimate re…

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    Rime

    By Dante Alighieri

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    This collection of Dante Alighieri’s lyrics charts his poetic evolution and displays the ground on which his Vita nuova and Divine Comedy developed. Inspired in his early poems by troubadour love poetry, Dante would later come to master all the genres of the time, such as the canzone, the sonnet and…

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    Purgatory

    By Dante Alighieri

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    Describing Dante’s second stage in his arduous journey to redemption, Purgatory features a host of unforgettable scenes and characters, and arguably some of the best poetry to be found in the Divine Comedy. The gloom, torments and evils of Hell have been left behind, but Dante’s ascent of Mount Purg…

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