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ItemLeopardi and the "Desert of Life"(The Italian Discipline, Flinders University of South Australia, 1989)The central metaphor used here - that of life as a barren, arid state - recurs frequently throughout Leopardi's work, in both his prose and his poetry, in contexts that describe his own personal condition and/or that of humanity as a whole. The metaphor appears not only in the form of the word 'deserto' (which derives from the Latin verb 'desèrere' 'to abandon', 'to desert') and as analogous images that denote emptiness and aridity, but also where the key element of the metaphor is a word such as 'eremo', 'ermo', or 'romito', which derive from the equivalent Greek word for desert - èremos -, and which therefore extend the metaphor to the deeper meaning of 'loneliness' and 'isolation'.
ItemFrom Venus to Proserpine: Sappho's Last Song(University of Toronto. Dept. of Italian Studies, 1998)Leopardi had shown interest in the ancient Greek poetess at least from 1814 when he included the translation of one of her poems in a small epithalamial collection of 'Scherzi epigrammatici tradotti dal greco'. When compared to the translation of the same fragment from Sappho’s lyrics made by his contemporary Foscolo and, in the twentieth century, by, for example, Quasimodo and Pontani, Leopardi’s “scherzo” is a far more liberal and personal rendition of the four-line Sappho original. Leopardi admired the lyrist from Lesbos, of whose work - he lamented in his essay of 1816 'Della fama di Orazio presso gli antichi' - very little had survived.