Tra due secoli: l’Arcadia alla svolta dell’Ottocento

Francesco Bruni

Starting from the time of the Jacobin Republics in Italy (1796-1799) and the Napoleonic period, the prestige of the Academy of Arcadia plummeted. When Mme de Staël resided in Rome (1805) she was offered membership of Arcadia; she accepted but her accounts, in private letters and travelogue, reveal a satirical and detached attitude. Her Corinne, ou l’Italie (1807) again portrays Roman society in an unfavourable light. Both secular and Catholic figures of liberal or modern inspiration considered the Arcadian literary and intellectual approaches absurd. Arcadia romana (1835), a poem by the prominent Catholic author Niccolò Tommaseo, is a satirical lambasting of Arcadian meetings. On the other side was Giacomo Leopardi, an adherent to materialistic philosophy of the Enlightenment. When he visited (1823) the tombs of Tasso and Guidi side by side in the little church of S. Onofrio in Rome, Leopardi expressed his contempt of Guidi and the society of the Ancien Regime in which he lived. Other major or minor writers are more briefly considered.

Keywords: Mme (Germaine Necker) de Staël (-Holstein); Arcadia; Niccolò Tommaseo; Giacomo Leopardi.