Giovanni Pascoli was born in 1855 at San Mauro di Romagna into a prominent local family.
His childhood was marked by the murder of his father, the deaths of his mother, sister, and two brothers, and his family’s financial ruin.
After moving to Rimini with his brothers in 1871, he became involved in left-wing politics and was briefly imprisoned in Bologna following a protest supporting the anarchist Giovanni Passannante.
He went on to study at the University of Bologna under Giosuè Carducci. Earning his degree in 1882, he taught secondary school in Matera and Massa. Pascoli also began writing and published his first poems in the literary magazine Vita nuova. In 1894, he took a post at the Ministry of Public Instruction in Rome and there published the first version of Poemi conviviali.
From 1897 to 1903, he taught Latin at the University of Messina, and then in Pisa. Pascoli then succeeded Carducci as professor of Italian literature at the University of Bologna. Giovanni Pascoli died of liver cancer in Bologna in 1912.
Poet laureate of Italy, university professor, and a renowned translator himself, Giovanni Pascoli embodies the Zeitgeist of fin de siècle Italy. His works are inspired by French Symbolism and by Decadentism, as well by the classical tradition so alive in Italian culture. However, his poetic voice is quite unique in the panorama of European poetry of that time, filling traditional metrical forms with an uncanny and peculiar use of onomatopoeic language and with a multilingual vocabulary. Pascoli imbues his depiction of nature with haunting images and a disquieting sensitivity.
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