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HUMANITIES 393 way shows us more than once, the reader is forced to conclude that the fault lies in him, in that he has become separated through the centuries from the peculiar emotional ambiance of the eighteenth century. One may argue whether Voltaire succeeds or fails in communicating his own sensibility. After reading Voltaire and Sensibility, one can no longer dispute the great significance of sensibility in Voltaire's life and work. Every chapter examines a distinct aspect of Voltaire: Voltaire the man, the philosopher, the critic, the poet, the playwright, the raconteur, and in each we are shown through a wealth of quotations from his own works, from the observations of contemporaries, through the evidence of the facts of his life that sensibility for Voltaire, far from something to be mocked at, is th.. well-spring of thc poet, the philosopher and the man of action. With great skill Professor Ridgway arranges his material so as to give it a cumulative effect, each chapter contributing its own argument to the whole until the reader in the end is quite wan over to his point of view. Of all these, the last, dealing with Voltaire the prose writer, and the 'Epilogue' are the most revealing and the most challenging. The former because it deals with Voltaire's sensibility where one would expect it least, in his contes philosoplziques, with a convincing argument that the very violence of his attacks against the abuses of his day bctray a man of deep feeling; and the latter because it deals with Voltaire's inAuence on those who are most generally associated with sensibility, the romantics of the early nineteenth century who, as Professor Ridgway demonstrates, recognized their indebtedness to Voltaire precisely there where we are inclined to deny it - in his capacity for emotion and compassion. Today Voltaire still has his friends and his enemies. It is a measure of his greatness. But whether one sees him as 'the grinning monkey: or as 'the sage of Europe: no serious reader of his work can ignore the implications of the contribution Professor Ridgway's book has made to the portrait we have of him. ( PETER MOES) Julius A. Molinaro, editor, Petrnrch to Pirandello: Studies in Italian Literature in Honcntr of Beatrice Corrigan. University of Toronto Press, xvi, 259, $ 15.00 A Festschrift is a literary phenomenon which transforms a melancholic event - such as the retirement of a professor - into a festive occasion, a celebration. With Petrarch to Pirandello, Julius A. Molinaro has followed the tradition and produced a volume of 'Studies in Italian Literature in Honour of Beatrice Corrigan: on the occasion of her retirement from active teaching at the University of Toronto. The volume opens with 394 LETTERS IN CANADA a low-key, effective introduction by the editor, who explains that 'the book was envisaged as encompassing some, if not all' of the 'varied interests' of Professor Corrigan cp ix). These interests are summarized in the title, if we take Pirandello to be a representative of the avant-garde; the range is impressive indeed, and the studies collected by Molinaro correspondingly deal with 'some of the most significant moments in Italian literature' cp xv). The volume can be roughly divided into two parts. The first half (fourteenth to eighteenth centuries) includes two pieces which might be considered as timely contributions to Petrarch's sixth centennial celebrations (a translation of Bucolicum Carmen I by Thomas Bergin and a study on 'Petrarch and the Art of Literature' by Aldo Bernardo), three essays on the Renaissance (by Louise George Clubb on 'The Making of the Pastoral Play,' DaniloAguzzi-Barbagli on 'lngegno, Acutezza, and Meraviglia,' and c.P. Brand on Tasso, Spenser, and the Orlando Furioso'), and one on the 'Early [eighteenth-century] Italian Translations of Addison's Cato' by Hannibal Noce. These last two essays are particularly in tune with Professor Corrigan's interest in, and contributions to, Anglo-Italian cultural and literary relations. The second half of the volume is dedicated to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It includes a useful translation of Ulrich Leo's 'II passero solitario: Study of a Motif' by Kurt Levy and five essays on: The Moment in Manzoni' by...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 393-394
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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