The "Genius" by Theodore Dreiser

By Theodore Dreiser

The insistent subject of Mr. Dreiser's paintings is hope, perennial, unquenchable. regardless of how badly Mr. Dreiser may perhaps do his paintings, he will be major because the American novelist who has such a lot felt this subterranean present of existence. Many novelists have obvious this present as an insignificant abyss of sin from which the soul is to be dragged to the excessive flooring of ethical function and redemption, yet this can now not really do. the good interpreters see lifestyles as a fight among this wish and the geared up equipment of life, yet they aren't keen, as we're, to hide up and belittle the will.

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78 Many epistles, however, display historical dedicatees, among them popes (Benedict XII, Clement VI); rulers (King Robert of Naples, Mastino della Scala, lord of Verona; Guido Gonzaga of Mantua, to whom Petrarch sends a copy of the Romance of the Rose); patrons (Luchino Visconti, with a gift of pear trees; Bernabò and his newborn son, Petrarch’s godson Marco Visconti); friends (Dionigi da Borgo San Sepolcro, Giacomo Colonna, Car- A Life’s Work 25 dinal Giovanni Colonna, who had sent him a pet dog; the lawyer Guglielmo da Pastrengo; Giovanni Barrili, with regrets that he could not be present in Rome to crown Petrarch, as had been planned, and a description of the event; Socrates; Pietro Alighieri; Boccaccio); enemies (a bad poet and bad man called Zoilus—actually Brizio Visconti, the natural son of Luchino, who co-ruled Milan with his brother Giovanni); and himself (Ad se ipsum).

10–18). Yet Petrarch feared the great Florentine’s ghost, suspects Marchesi, who sees an analogy between the Babel of Hannibal’s evil camp and the linguistic multiformity of Dante’s Divina commedia. 24 The poet himself preserved to history this dazzling occasion in many scattered references, mostly in his epistles, notably a self-apologetic account in his Poeteritati (Letter to Posterity, 1351). 25 Scipio has conquered Hannibal, and as the victorious Roman fleet returns home from its African campaign, the poet Ennius holds the hero and his men spellbound on deck, recounting a dream in which blind Homer had appeared to him with a prophetic vision of the Bard’s Tuscan successor, that young “Franciscus” who will recall the Muses long exiled to Mount Helicon: At last in tardy triumph he will climb the Capitol.

62 6. Petrarch the Epistler As a “born-again ancient,” Petrarch made his greatest manuscript discovery in the Verona cathedral library, the sixteen books of Cicero’s Ad Atticum along with two minor collections, to the Roman orator’s brother Quintus and to Brutus. 64 In point of fact, he imposed artful criteria for keeping or “damning” letters, much like those that divide the Rerum vulgarium fragmenta from the uncollected rhymes. What survives is a corpus embracing a European community of 150 recipients, making him arguably the most prolific epistler ever up to his time.

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