Keywords: Renato Serra; Benedetto Croce; Italian Literature; Moral Philosophy; Philosophy of History.
Throughout his life Renato Serra engaged in a constant dialogue with Croce, both in personal and intellectual terms. The two were friends and highly regarded each other in spite of the fact they often embraced profoundly different views. This paper examines the way Serra took issue with Croce's work. In his view, the Neapolitan philosopher, who played a dominant role in Italian culture at the time, represented the coldness of the 'system', the intention of accounting for the particular on the grounds of the universal: an attitude that Serra could neither share nor appreciate in front of the real suffering of life and insurmountable 'universal injustices'. Nevertheless he admired Croce's intellectual strength, the endless distress of the "undiscovered thought" that he exaltedly and tormentedly disentangled. This is why Serra both criticized and regarded Croce, showing him respect even when their relationship abruptly and resentfully came to an end.