Giuseppe Gioachino Belli

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"Giuseppe Belli" redirects here. Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_sentence_0

For the singer, see Giuseppe Belli (singer). Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_sentence_1

Giuseppe Francesco Antonio Maria Gioachino Raimondo Belli (7 September 1791 – 21 December 1863) was an Italian poet, famous for his sonnets in Romanesco, the dialect of Rome. Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_sentence_2

Biography Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_section_0

Giuseppe Francesco Antonio Maria Gioachino Raimondo Belli was born in Rome to a family belonging to the lower bourgeoisie. Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_sentence_3

His father died, of either cholera or typhus, some time after taking up a job in Civitavecchia. Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_sentence_4

Belli, with his mother and his two brothers, moved back to Rome, where they were forced to take cheap lodgings in Via del Corso. Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_sentence_5

Belli began his poetical career initially by composing sonnets in Italian, at the suggestion of his friend, the poet Francesco Spada. Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_sentence_6

After a period of employment in straitened circumstances, in 1816 he married a woman of means, Maria Conti, and this enabled him the ease to develop his literary talents. Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_sentence_7

The two had a son, Ciro, born in 1824. Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_sentence_8

Belli made some trips to Northern and Central Italy, where he could come in contact with a more evolved literary world, as well with the Enlightenment and revolutionary milieu which was almost totally absent in Rome, where a strong social cohesion had made the almost anarchoid population completely independent from and indifferent to political ideologies. Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_sentence_9

It was during a stay in Milan that he came in touch with the rich local tradition of dialect poetry and satire, as modernized by Carlo Porta, whose witty vernacular sonnets provided him with a model for the poems in Roman dialect that were to make him, posthumously, famous. Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_sentence_10

His sonnets were often satirical and anti-clerical, as when he defined the Cardinals as 'dog-robbers', for example, or Pope Gregory XVI as someone who kept 'Rome as his personal inn'. Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_sentence_11

Nevertheless, Belli's political ideas remained largely conservative throughout his life. Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_sentence_12

During the democratic rebellion of the Roman Republic of 1849 he defended the rights of the pope. Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_sentence_13

After his wife's death in 1837, Belli's economic situation worsened again. Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_sentence_14

In later years Belli lost much of his vitality, and he felt a growing acrimony against the world around him, describing himself as "a dead poet". Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_sentence_15

Consequently, his poetical production dropped off and his last sonnet in dialect dates to 1849. Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_sentence_16

In his later years Belli worked as artistical and political censor for the papal government. Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_sentence_17

Works whose circulation he denied included those of William Shakespeare, Giuseppe Verdi and Gioachino Rossini. Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_sentence_18

He died in Rome in 1863 from a stroke. Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_sentence_19

His nephew, painter Guglielmo Janni, wrote a monumental biography in 10 volumes, which was published posthumously in 1967. Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_sentence_20

Work Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_section_1

Belli is mainly remembered for his vivid popular poetry in the Roman dialect. Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_sentence_21

He produced some 2,279 sonnets that form an invaluable document of the 19th century's papal Rome and the life of its common people. Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_sentence_22

They were mainly composed in the period 1830–1839. Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_sentence_23

Belli kept them largely hidden, apart from his famous recitals before friends such as Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve and Nikolai Gogol and, just before his death, asked his friend Monsignor Vincenzo Tizzani to burn them. Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_sentence_24

Fortunately, the prelate gave them back to Ciro Belli, who when first publishing a selection of them in 1866, severely edited them in order not to offend the taste of the time. Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_sentence_25

Belli came to Roman from Italian, as an educated and intelligent user of the language, and his Letters, recently published, represent some of the finest Italian style of the period. Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_sentence_26

He regarded his Roman sonnets in something of the light of an anthropologist, expressing what he saw of the mood, experience and opinions of the Roman lower classes, and his felicity with the Roman language depended on an already acquired felicity with Italian that was very rare in his time. Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_sentence_27

The most striking characteristics of Belli's sonnets are the overwhelming humour and the sharp, relentless capability of satirization of both common life and the clerical world that oppressed it. Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_sentence_28

Some of the sonnets, moreover, show a decided degree of eroticism. Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_sentence_29

Although replete with denunciations of the corruption of the world of the Roman Church, and of 19th century Rome in general, Belli's poems have been defined as "never impious". Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_sentence_30

His verse is frequently obscene, emphasizing the exuberant vulgarity and acerbic intuitions of the local world whose language he employed, but is always phrased with an acute technical mastery of rhythm within the difficult formal structures of the Petrarchan sonnet, and by a sense of realism which was rarely matched in the poetical production of Europe, until the emergence of raw realism with Émile Zola and James Joyce. Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_sentence_31

A selection of Belli's sonnets were translated into English by Anthony Burgess, who employed a rough slang tinged with Lancastrian as a stand-in for Belli's Roman dialect. Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_sentence_32

These translations appear in the novel ABBA ABBA, which deals with a fictional encounter between Belli and John Keats, and are excerpted in Revolutionary Sonnets and Other Poems. Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_sentence_33

Belli's works have also been translated by the poet Harold Norse. Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_sentence_34

Among other English translators of Belli's work are Peter Nicholas Dale, William Carlos Williams, and Eleonore Clark. Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_sentence_35

Robert Garioch has rendered a selection of his sonnets, very appropriately, into Edinburgh demotic. Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_sentence_36

See also Giuseppe Gioachino Belli_section_2

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Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: Gioachino Belli.