Modern Italian Poets

Modern Italian Poets
Essays and Versions

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Modern Italian Poets by William Dean Howells

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Modern Italian Poets
Essays and Versions

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Book Excerpt

straightway proposed to the tuneful _abbés, cavalieri serventi_, and _précieuses_, who went singing and love-making up and down Italy in those times, the foundation of a new academy, to be called the Academy of the Arcadians.

Literary academies were then the fashion in Italy, and every part of the peninsula abounded in them. They bore names fanciful or grotesque, such as The Ardent, The Illuminated, The Unconquered, The Intrepid, or The Dissonant, The Sterile, The Insipid, The Obtuse, The Astray, The Stunned, and they were all devoted to one purpose, namely, the production and the perpetuation of twaddle. It is prodigious to think of the incessant wash of slip-slop which they poured out in verse; of the grave disputations they held upon the most trivial questions; of the inane formalities of their sessions. At the meetings of a famous academy in Milan, they placed in the chair a child just able to talk; a question was proposed, and the answer of the child, whatever it was, was held by one side to solve the

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