Francesco Venturi

Carlo Emilio Gadda’s ‘Happiness’: Leibniz, Leopardi and Shakespeare

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Keywords: Carlo Emilio Gadda, Il Castello di Udine, Meditazione milanese, Manuscripts, Philosophy, War Diaries, Leibniz, Leopardi, Shakespeare, Hamlet.

The essay investigates the peculiar meaning of ‘happiness’ in Carlo Emilio Gadda’s oeuvre by taking as a starting point his war diaries and Il Castello di Udine (1934). The philosophical implications behind such a notion emerge clearly in Gadda’s manuscript notes on Epicurus and Leibniz as well as in his 1928 unfinished treatise Meditazione milanese. Two literary works also prove crucial to the development of Gadda’s moral ideas during his years as a student at the Accademia scientifico-letteraria in Milan, namely Giacomo Leopardi’s Operette morali and Hamlet. While Gadda harshly criticised Leopardi’s mindset in a seriesof idiosyncratic notes, the beloved shakespearean tragedy deeply influenced his view of life as the accomplishment of a mission which is worth risking death for.

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