In this Very Short Introduction, Peter Hainsworth and David Robey consider Italian literature from the Middle Ages to the present day, looking at themes and issues which have recurred throughout its history and continue to be of importance today. Examining themes such as regional identities, political disunity, and the role of the national language, they also cover a wide range of authors and works, including Dante, Petrarch, Manzoni, Montale, and Calvino. They explore some of the distinctive traditions of the literature, such as its liking for theorizing its own position, its concern with politics, and its secular orientation in spite of the Catholic beliefs and practices of the Italian people. Concluding by looking at the ways in which Italian literature has changed over the last thirty years, they examine the influence of women's writing in Italian, and acknowledge the belated recognition of its importance. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.