He was an Italian poet and abbot. Member of the Accademia dei Trasformati, he was one of the leading exponents of the Enlightenment and Neoclassicism in Italy.
Giuseppe Parini was born in May 1729 in the village of Bosisio in a family of the small middle class of Brianza dedicated to the silk trade. The difficult economic conditions forced the family to move to Milan and, thanks to a wealthy aunt, continued the religious studies, up to the ordination as a priest.
The studies between Milan and Lodi do not resolve family hardships, so much so that he is forced to engage in other jobs, especially as a teacher, to earn a living. Parallel is the literary career: he began to publish under pseudonym some poems of heterogeneous subject and to sixteenth-century poetry. He was admitted to the Accademia dei Trasformati in Milan, an institution patronized by the noble Imbonati family which brought together aristocrats and ecclesiastics and which sought to link the poetic models of tradition with contemporary problems. Its members include Pietro Verri, Giuseppe Baretti and Cesare Beccaria.
In these same years Giuseppe Parini is a tutor to the Serbelloni dukes. Here Parini has the opportunity both to come into contact with the culture of the French Enlightenment, from Voltaire to Rousseau and Montesquieu, and to observe at close hand the customs and traditions of the nobility, which then constitute a large part of the material of his most famous poem, Il Giorno . If the first poetic experiences of Parini are of a very formal taste of poetry, maturity production is characterized by the proximity to the ideas and principles of the Lombard Enlightenment from which it recovers the idea of the pedagogical function of literature and art. The project of Parini is then that of a civil poetry, which actively engages in stressing or denouncing defects and corruptions of society, with an eye to the behavior of the ruling class that has the greatest responsibility for the life of all citizenship.
From a stylistic point of view, Giuseppe Parini adheres to the principles of Neoclassicism by intending the form of his texts as the main tool for proposing an ideal of order and measure, in line with the moral content of balance and dignity of his poetry. In this sense, Parini will remain for most of the nineteenth-century authors – from Alessandro Manzoni to Ugo Foscolo, who dedicates to him a famous chapter of Jacopo Ortis’s Last Letters – an ethical and strategic model of reference.
In the historical center of Bosisio Parini is the place where Giuseppe Parini was born. Recently the house has been used as a museum in which through a system of fading projectors and a sound commentary you can enjoy the peasant life of the ‘700, all through the eyes of the child Parini. The museum house, together with Palazzo Cesati, the Church of Sant’Anna Vecchia and Piazza Parini are part of the Pariniano Itinerary, a route of about 2 km that winds through the historic center of the municipality.
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