Ungaretti, Giuseppe

(1888–1970)
   A personal, autobiographical poet, Giuseppe Ungaretti was born in Egypt and schooled in France, where he attended the Sorbonne and imbibed the philosophy of Henri Bergson at its source. He arrived in Italy in 1914, where he began to publish poetry in the Florentine review Lacerba. Loudly prowar, Ungaretti fought in World War I as a common soldier, and his war poetry, gathered in the collection L’Allegria (Joy, 1917), is the greatest poetic testimony of the war on the Italian front. The experience of combat transformed his jingoism into a more reflective understanding of the horrors that war inevitably brings. In the poem “San Martino del Carso,” he superbly conveyed the anguish he felt on seeing a village that had been battered by artillery: “Of these houses/Nothing remains/But a few/Broken Walls/Of the many/Who wrote me/None now are here/But in my heart/No cross is missing/My heart/Is the most shattered village of all.
   Ungaretti’s second major collection, Sentimento del tempo (The Sentiment of the Time, 1933), saw the poet experimenting with religious themes and with more traditional metrical structures, as he attempted to recapture the “song” of classical Italian poetry. Between 1936 and 1942, Ungaretti lived in Brazil, where he taught Italian culture in Sao Paulo. His stay was marked by the tragic death of his son, Antonietto, whom he later remembered in the lyrics that constituted half of his 1947 collection, Il dolore (Grief). The remainder of the poems were dedicated to “occupied Rome,” and many critics regard them as his finest work. Ungaretti’s collected works were published in 1970, shortly before his death.
   See also Literature.

Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. . 2007.

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  • Ungaretti, Giuseppe — born Feb. 10, 1888, Alexandria, Egypt died June 1, 1970, Milan, Italy Egyptian Italian poet. He lived in Alexandria until he was 24, and the desert regions of Egypt provide recurring images in his work. While studying in Paris, he was strongly… …   Universalium

  • Ungaretti, Giuseppe — ► (1888 1970) Poeta y crítico italiano. Autor de una poesía humanista y personal: Sentimiento del tiempo (1933), El dolor (1947), La tierra prometida (1950), etc. En todas ellas, pero en esp. en la primera, se manifiesta la preocupación del poeta …   Enciclopedia Universal

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