Luzi, Mario

(1912–2005)
   One of the greatest Italian poets of the 20th century, Luzi was widely expected to win the Nobel Prize. In 1997, when the prize went to the controversial playwright Dario Fo, Luzi was unable to hide his disappointment and sniffed that the prize itself had been devalued. Luzi was compensated in October 2004 with the conferral of a life senatorship by Carlo Azeglio Ciampi for his “extraordinary literary and artistic merit.”
   His achievement is not in doubt. Luzi was the last significant exponent of ermetismo (hermeticism), a Florentine school of poets that strove to avoid the rhetorical excess of the Italian poetic tradition but to make complex, obscure use of simple words and that prized poetry for its expressiveness rather than its power to communicate ideas. As a poet, translator, and critic, Luzi was one of contemporary Italy’s most influential and prolific writers. Highlights of his poetic career include Avvento Noturno(Night-time Occurrence, 1940); Nel Magma (1963), whose subject matter is the daily life of contemporary Italian society and which has a highly conversational style; and Ceneri e ardori (Ashes and Passions, 1997). Luzi was professor of French literature at the universities of Urbino and his native Florence; he died in Florence in February 2005.
   See also Montale, Eugenio.

Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. . 2007.

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