This panel seeks to explore new ideas about the relationship between the literary and the more strictly scientific or philosophical works of Giacomo Leopardi. Papers will demonstrate an awareness of scholarly work completed in Italian in recent decades on questions of science in the satirical and poetic works, but will move beyond the question of science versus literature, or the ‘two cultures’ problematic often, in Leopardi studies, couched in terms of technical versus literary language or ‘parola’ versus ‘termine.’ Papers will explore, instead, the real possibility that scientific ideas not only underpin the aesthetics of the poetry in the Canti and other of Leopardi’s poetry, but that the various genres of his writing work together to explore different facets of the same problem: that of the relationship between humanity and non-human nature. Of particular interest are papers that address this relationship in innovative ways in the Canti and the Operette Morali, with reference to but not exclusive focus upon the Zibaldone. Very little work has been done in English on the issue of Leopardi’s natural philosophy in relation to his strictly literary works, and thus the purpose of this panel is to move forward with a new line of investigation in Leopardi studies in the English-speaking world.
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