Baretti antiarcade. Temi, modi e tempi di una fustigazione

Paolo Procaccioli

This work analyses the relationship between Giuseppe Baretti and the Arcadian world. Contrary to that which is claimed to be critical cliché, and has long been seen in the Turin area as the anti-Arcadian criticism par excellence, and despite the peremptory nature of the various statements made by Baretti himself, the documentary and critical evidence that has been uncovered provides for a much more articulated approach, with nuances that invite us to avoid overlapping seasons and contexts. The resulting complex relationship features clear distinctions, not only between the words of Baretti the poet and Baretti the author of «Frusta», but also between Baretti the Italian and Baretti the Englishman. These differing positions result in conclusions that provide for different and even radically contrasting judgements of Arcadia. On the one one hand we have the academy of contemporary poets (who are seen, in no uncertain terms, as the cause of a contemporary decline), while on the other we have the academy of Metastasio, who was exalted over any other modern poet, whether Italian or not. This served as the confirmation of a judgement conditioned by the controversies taking place, but that never materialized, and ultimately ended up strengthening the criticism of later representatives, which the same Arcadian historiography would later recognize as “degenerate”.