Benedetto Croce's Poetry and literature: an introduction to its criticism and history

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Southern Illinois University Press, Sep 1, 1981 - Literary Criticism - 210 pages
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Benedetto Croce’s influence pervades Anglo-Saxon culture, but, ironically, before Giovanni Gullace heeded the call of his colleagues and provided this urgently needed translation of La Poesia, speakers of English had no access to Croce’s major work and final rendering of his esthetic theory.


Aesthetic, published in 1902 and translated in 1909, represents most of what the English-speaking world knows about Croce’s theory. It is, asserts Gullace, “no more than a first sketch of a thought that developed, clarified, and corrected itself through new literary experience and more mature reflection.” During the 34 years between Aesthetic and La Poesia (1936), for example, Croce added a striking new element to his thought: the analysis of prose literature.


Gullace’s introduction to La Poesia constitutes a major under­taking in its own right. It is aimed at acquainting the reader with the evolution of Croce’s thought and at explaining the relation­ship between this final work and the philosopher’s previous work in esthetic theory and literary criticism.


La Poesia is divided into two parts, text and postscripts. The text consists of four chapters: Poetry and Literature; The Life of Poetry; Criticism and History of Poetry; and The Formation of the Poet and the Precepts. Croce saw the postscripts “as a re­laxed conversation after the tension of theoretical exposition. In Gullace’s translation the text and relevant postscripts appear conveniently side by side in a double column. Gullace has anno­tated both text and postscripts.

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Benedetto Croce frontispiece
Translators Introduction

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About the author (1981)

Giovanni Gullace is Professor of French and Comparative Literature at State University of New York, Binghamton. His books include Gabriele D’Annunzio in France: A Study in Cultural Relations and a translation of Giovanni Gentile’s The Phi­losophy of Art.

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