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Date of Award

Spring 2017

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


LACS: French and Italian Studies

First Advisor

Dario Del Puppo


The 20th century Italian poets, known as i poeti ermetisti (Hermeticists), offer insight into the influence of French literature on their neighbors at the turn of the 1900s. The deconstruction of classical structures in their poetry recalls the standard bearers of French Symbolists, such as Mallarmé and Rimbaud. More importantly though, we see a common trend between the two movements in which the poets seek to elicit emotional responses from their readers who can only come to understand their poems through prolonged and deep reflection. Both Italian Hermeticism and French Symbolism present themselves as alternatives to rational means of understanding the human condition. To this effect they explore the surreal, mystical, and irrational aspects of human existence in the hope of discovering hidden truths. In this way, the poets resolve disconnected feelings between man and his environment. In this paper, I will analyze Giuseppe Ungaretti's “Mattina” and Eugenio Montale's, “I Limoni”, as two instances of the ‘hermetic' style and poetics. I will also connect their poetic style with French Symbolist poetics. The Italian Futurists, led by F.T. Marinetti, were also influenced by French art and poetry of the late 19th century. Seeing as they were active at the same time as the ermetisti, I will take them into consideration as well. Finally, by contextualizing Hermeticism within a larger European (and especially French) framework, I wish to ascertain what is unique about Hermeticists' poetics with respect to their precursors.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College, Hartford Connecticut for the degree of Bachelor of Science in LACS: French and Italian Studies. Full text access is limited to the campus only.