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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Torquato Tasso: The Key

Molte son l'opinioni ch'io porto di molte cose, e talora d'una medesima l'ho diversa.

"I have many opinions about many things, and sometimes I have different opinions on the same thing." __Torquato Tasso, Il Malpiglio secondo, overo del fuggir la moltitudine, 1585; a Dialogue after the manner of Plato, dealing with the topic "Far from the madding crowd." The funny thing is that this fundamental sentence is quoted in Tasso's political essays collected by Luigi Firpo, but as a demonstration of Tasso's limits, not of his genius! The fact is that Luigi Firpo (1915-1989), who was not only a great scholar of the history of politics and political thought, but a very learned man in general, was here misguided by his Enlightenment beliefs. He looked for clear, one-sided concepts, not for Renaissance twofold worldviews. But he has the merit of making us come across this gem.

Torquato Tasso, Tre scritti politici, ed. by Luigi Firpo, Turin, IT: UTET (Strenne UTET), 1980, pages 198, with many pictures, including the portrait of Tasso that has been posted yesterday. The three essays are: a reportage from France, 1571; a "Letter" on the features of a perfect Government, 1578; considerations about the Civil War in France, 1585.