Eugenio Montale, The Fascist Storm and the Jewish Sunflower: Eugenio Montale's Secret Love Cycle for Irma Brandeis

By David M. Hertz

© 2015

Eugenio Montale, the Fascist Storm, and the Jewish Sunflower uncovers one of the great hidden sagas of modern literature. During Italy’s fascist period, Eugenio Montale – winner of the 1975 Nobel Prize in Literature and one of the greatest modern poets in any language – fell in love with Irma Brandeis, a glamorous and beautiful Dante scholar and an American Jew. While their romance would fall apart, it would have literary repercussions that extended throughout the poet’s career: Montale’s works abound with secret codes that speak to a lost lover and muse.

This study is the first to completely unlock the cryptic thematic link that connects many of Montale’s most important poems, which, taken together, form the most significant hidden poetic cycle of modernism. David Michael Hertz explores the intersecting poetic myth and background biography, with precision made possible through recently published archival materials. Bringing the reader into an intense experience of great poetry while telling an engaging story, Hertz vividly shows that close reading in conjunction with biographical and historical materials can be an unforgettable and rewarding experience.

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Product Details

  • Series: Toronto Italian Studies
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 440 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.1in x 9.0in
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  • PUBLISHED JUL 2015

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    Regular Price: $41.95

    ISBN 9781487519995
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    Regular Price: $86.00

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Quick Overview

Eugenio Montale, the Fascist Storm, and the Jewish Sunflower uncovers one of the great hidden sagas of modern literature.

Eugenio Montale, The Fascist Storm and the Jewish Sunflower: Eugenio Montale's Secret Love Cycle for Irma Brandeis

By David M. Hertz

© 2015

Eugenio Montale, the Fascist Storm, and the Jewish Sunflower uncovers one of the great hidden sagas of modern literature. During Italy’s fascist period, Eugenio Montale – winner of the 1975 Nobel Prize in Literature and one of the greatest modern poets in any language – fell in love with Irma Brandeis, a glamorous and beautiful Dante scholar and an American Jew. While their romance would fall apart, it would have literary repercussions that extended throughout the poet’s career: Montale’s works abound with secret codes that speak to a lost lover and muse.

This study is the first to completely unlock the cryptic thematic link that connects many of Montale’s most important poems, which, taken together, form the most significant hidden poetic cycle of modernism. David Michael Hertz explores the intersecting poetic myth and background biography, with precision made possible through recently published archival materials. Bringing the reader into an intense experience of great poetry while telling an engaging story, Hertz vividly shows that close reading in conjunction with biographical and historical materials can be an unforgettable and rewarding experience.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Toronto Italian Studies
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 440 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.1in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    ‘Hertz succeeds admirably in revealing the rich and complex tapestry hidden behind the Clizia Cycle.’


    Rossella Riccobono
    Modern Language Review vol 111:02:2016

    Eugenio Montale, the Fascist Storm, and the Jewish Sunflower is the first book that deals extensively in English with the myth of Clizia, the central figure in Montale’s mature poetry, and a kind of ironic modern Beatrice to the poet’s Modernist, agnostic Dante. This is a compelling story, both biographically and artistically, and Hertz artfully interweaves the poet’s personal and aesthetic themes. His book is an original and important addition to Montale criticism in our language and will help readers read Montale in a more complex and holistic way.”
    Jonathan Galassi, translator of Collected Poems, 1920–1954: Eugenio Montale, Otherwise: Last and First Poems of Eugenio Montale, and The Second Life of Art: Selected Essays of Eugenio Montale

    Eugenio Montale, the Fascist Storm, and the Jewish Sunflower is a joy to read – the prose style is elegant and charming, recreating with panache, drama, and colour the context in which Montale worked. The advantage of David Michael Hertz’s approach is that it brings the poems to life for readers who do not yet know them, explaining their meaning in a lively and delightful way.”
    Clodagh Brook, Department of Italian Studies, University of Birmingham

    “As a Dante scholar, Irma Brandeis was a prime expositor of Italian literature as well as a lover and muse of Eugenio Montale, the greatest Italian poet of the twentieth century. But the Fascist storm separated them when Mussolini entered into an alliance with Hitler in 1938 and accepted his anti-Semitic policies. Miss Brandeis, the “Jewish sunflower,” was obliged to return to America, never to see her innamorato again. While in America she continued to publish and comment on Montale’s poetry, even on some of the poems which she inspired. This contextualization of history and myth provides a major entry to David Michael Hertz’s brilliant study of Montale’s poetry. It was through the alembic of separation that the real-life Irma rose to the level Beatrice occupied in the poetry of Dante and Laura in that of Petrarch.”
    Ricardo Quinones, Josephine Olp Weeks Professor of Literature, Emeritus, Claremont McKenna College
  • Author Information

    David Michael Hertz is a professor in the Department of Comparative Literature at Indiana University, Bloomington.
  • Table of contents

    List of Illustrations

    Acknowledgments

    1. Introduzione: The Clizia Myth and the Secret Cycle

    2. Murder, Manifestoes, and the Poems of the Cinque Terre

    3. Love in Fascist Florence

    4. The Woman of The Occasions

    5. Hitler and Mussolini at the Opera

    6. The Storm and the Sun Goddess

    7. The Poet and the Modern Beatrice Spread Their Myth around the World

    8. Clizia Becomes a Woman Again

    Coda: Montale, Brandeis, the “I” and the “You”

    The Italian

    Notes

    Works Cited and Additional Bibliography

    Index of Poems and Translations from the Cycle

    General Index