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In this first detailed and comprehensive account of Leopardi's theory of poetry, G. Singh assesses both the literary and critical attainments of a poet whose eminence ranks him with Dante and Petrarch. Singh's analysis, which employs extensive reference to Leopardi's work in order to illustrate the author's own comments, sets forth Leopardi's views on the larger questions of tradition, inspiration, and the imagination in poetry. Later chapters are concerned with the more specific matters of the poetic image, style, and language.