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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    Childhood Memories and Other Stories

    By Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

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    Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, the author of one of the most poignant and enduringly popular novels of the twentieth century, left only a few other pieces of fiction when he died prematurely at the age of sixty. ‘Childhood Memories and Other Stories’, here presented in a new translation by Stephen Pa…

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    Constantinople

    By Edmondo de Amicis

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    A remarkable nineteenth-century account of Istanbul – which begins with a dazzling description of the city gradually appearing through the fog as the author’s ship approaches the harbour – Constantinople expertly combines personal anecdote, breathtaking visual observation and entertaining historical…

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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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    Inferno

    By Dante Alighieri

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    Dante’s dramatic journey through the circles of hell in search of redemption – and his encounter with devils, monsters and the souls of some of the greatest sinners who ever walked on earth – is one of the cornerstones of Western literature, the summit of medieval thinking and arguably the highest p…

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    Complete Poems

    By Guido Cavalcanti

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    Dante’s best friend and a major exponent of the dolce stil novo, Guido Cavalcanti has had a lasting influence upon Italian poetry and is best known to English readers through the essays, translations and adaptations of Ezra Pound. Born from the cultural ferment of thirteenth- century Florence, Caval…

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    Love Poems

    By Dante Alighieri

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    Dante is known to most readers outside Italy for his gritty descriptions of the Inferno, but there is another, gentler side to his poetry, which found expression throughout his career in verses that made him, together with his friend Guido Cavalcanti, the leading love poet of his generation. From th…

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    Childhood Memories and Other Stories

    By Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

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    Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, the author of one of the most poignant and enduringly popular novels of the twentieth century, left only a few other pieces of fiction when he died prematurely at the age of sixty. Childhood Memories and Other Stories, here presented in a new translation by Stephen Park…

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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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    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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    Memories of London

    By Edmondo de Amicis

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    As a first-time visitor to London, De Amicis was awestruck by the bustle and magnificence of the Victorian metropolis and wrote a number of sketches in his trademark witty, observational style, which made him one of the best-selling travel writers of his age. Originally conceived as a series of news…

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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 repository o…

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