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Mario Praz

Mario Praz (1896-1982) was an Italian writer, essayist, literary critic, translator and journalist. He graduated with a degree in International Law in Rome and then a degree in Literature in Florence in 1920.

In Florence, he came into contact with the colony of English aristocrats living in the city, bonding especially with Vernon Lee. His visits to the Palmerino greatly influenced Praz's education and artistic and aesthetic thinking. During that same period, he collaborated with Soffici and Papini on translations of some English poems and wrote essays and reviews for various Italian cultural journals. In 1923, he obtained a professorship in Italian and moved to London, where he frequented the English literary world, cultivating relationships with intellectuals such as Montale and T.S. Elliot.

In 1930, he published "The Flesh, Death and the Devil in Romantic Literature," one of the world's first interdisciplinary studies, which places the history of art alongside the evolution of literature, music and philosophical thought; a work that would be harshly criticized in Italy by Benedetto Croce.

In 1935, Praz returned to his homeland to teach a course in English language and literature at La Sapienza, a chair from which the first scientific school of English Studies in Italy would be born. During the last years of his life, he developed a passion for antiques and inspired the figure of the professor protagonist in director Luchino Visconti's film “Gruppo di famiglia in un interno.”


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