Part of the The Margellos World Republic of Letters series
Selections from Leopardi’s prose masterwork, Zibaldone, one of the great intellectual diaries in European literature, expertly translated by Tim Parks
Revenge—Revenge is so sweet one often wishes to be insulted so as to be able to take revenge, and I don’t mean just by an old enemy, but anyone, or even (especially when in a really bad mood) by a friend.—from Passions
The extraordinary quality of Giacomo Leopardi’s writing and the innovative nature of his thought were never fully recognized in his lifetime. Zibaldone, his 4,500-page intellectual diary—a vast collection of thoughts on philosophy, civilization, literary criticism, linguistics, humankind and its vanities, and other varied topics—remained unpublished until more than a half-century after his death. But shortly before he died, Leopardi began to organize a small, thematic collection of his writings in an attempt to give structure and system to his philosophical musings. Now freshly translated into English by master translator, novelist, and critic Tim Parks, Leopardi’s Passions presents 164 entries reflecting the full breadth of human passion. The volume offers a fascinating introduction to Leopardi’s arguments and insights, as well as a glimpse of the concerns of thinkers to come, among them Nietzsche, Dostoyevsky, Wittgenstein, Gadda, and Beckett.