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Mario Praz (1896 – 1982)
Lifespan: 1896 - 1982
Related: genre theory - literary criticism - Italian literature
His best-known book, Romantic Agony, is a comprehensive survey of the erotic and morbid themes that characterized European authors of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. [Jul 2006]
Titles: Romantic Agony (1930)
Mario Praz (September 6, 1896, in Rome, Italy - March 23, 1982, Rome) was an Italian-born critic of art and literature. He was a scholar of English literature. His best-known book, the Romantic Agony, was a comprehensive survey of the erotic and morbid themes that characterized European authors of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The House of Life, his autobiography, was praised by Edmund Wilson as a masterpiece. His works of art criticism include an Illustrated History of Interior Decoration, a study on the Italian sculptor Antonio Canova and numerous essays.
He taught English literature at the University of Rome, from 1934 to his retirement in 1966. In 1962 Queen Elizabeth II made him a Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE). Praz died in Rome in 1982. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mario_Praz [Jul 2006]
Prurient interests?As with any researcher of controversial fields, can Praz be accused of prurient interests?
ProfileA man of letters and art critic, worthy Anglicist, expert antiquarian, historian of taste, a misoneist at heart yet a forerunner of postmodern taste, Praz was the greatest Italian essayist of the last century: in addition to his legendary wide culture he was also a refined and careful observer attracted by the grotesque, the macabre, the absurd. Browsing through the pages of this thorough exploration of his learning reveals the variety of scholarly interests together with an almost unique capacity for in-depth investigation: beginning with "La carne, la morte e il diavolo" (1930) in which he was the first to interpret the romantic feeling using the clarifying element of erotic pathology (and earning well-deserved international prestige, a favourable revue by Thomas S. Eliot and the enthusiasm of the famous American critic Edmund Wilson) --http://www.italica.rai.it/eng/principal/topics/literature/praz.htm [Jan 2005]
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