CultureLab • Public lecture

Nietzsche, Leopardi, and the Problem of Pessimism

Francesco Cattaneo

At the end of his life, Schopenhauer expresses a favorable view of Leopardi, because Leopardi’s works gave voice to a pessimistic worldview, very similar to the one upheld by the German philosopher. From his very first works, Nietzsche associates Leopardi’s pessimism to Schopenhauer: on one side, he appreciates Leopardi’s anti-modern and critical stance; on the other, he becomes more and more alien to Leopardi’s perspective which, according to him, was still dependent on a romantic idealism. The aim of this talk is to shed light on the main motives of Nietzsche’s reception of Leopardi.

Francesco Cattaneo (University of Bologna)

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Francesco Cattaneo is Associate Professor of Aesthetics at the University of Bologna since 2019. His research mainly concerns German philosophy of the 18th and 19th centuries, the relationship between philosophy and literature, philosophical reflection on myth, aesthetics and poetics of cinema, and theoretical problems related to contemporary documentary film. He is the author of La presenza degli dei. Filosofia e mito in F. Nietzsche and W. Otto tra verità e bellezza (Orthotes 2019) and Luogotenente del nulla. Heidegger, Nietzsche e la questione della singolarità (Pendragon 2009), among others. He is also currently co-editing a handbook dedicated to Nietzsche’s philosophical readings, which will soon be published by de Gruyter.