The Zibaldone as Leopardi’s self-education

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes


On page 4526 Leopardi's Zibaldone comes to an end. This article provides an interpretation of the philosophical ideas and performative instances which extend throughout the notebook, and which are responsible for the interruption of Leopardi's writing. By analysing the tensions between two antithetical philosophical and cultural models, that of Christianity, which re-proposes itself in the figure of the 'stupefied' Adam, and that of ancient Greek civilization, emerging in dialogical forms of Socratic dialogue, I aim to shed light on the importance of Leopardi's self-educational drive as an informing principle of the text. In the daily set of methods and learning practices which structure the everyday development of the notebook, and which are regulated by the principle of clarity, Leopardi's contrasting impulses between self-reflexive control and openness to the unexpected mirror broader cultural conflicts generated by the passage from antiquity to modernity.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-91
Number of pages15
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2016


  • Zibaldone, education, performance, clarity, Adam, Socratic dialogue