Guido Gozzano was born in Agliè in 1883. The upper-class family, in 1904 he enrolled in law, but, influenced by the lessons of literature Arturo Graf, professor and poet, he abandoned his studies to devote himself to poetry. The poetry of Graf, bitter and ironic, the influence of Gozzano, allowing him to get away from the poetry of D’Annunzio, the main poetic model of the time, and at the same time get in touch with writers and intellectuals. The literary training takes place so between 1903 and 1906, when, at the reading of authors Symbolist reference to the crepuscular (but also Pascoli, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche), Gozzano alternates the composition of the first texts, mainly published in journals.
His first collection, which combines a careful selection of previous poems, was published in 1907 and is called The way of refuge. Here the poet, in poor health, says that – with a “pose” dandy, a feature typically gozzaniana – the only possible refuge is literature. In 1908 he fell ill with tuberculosis, and during the same period is linked romantically with another poet, Amalia Guglielminetti, which weaves an extensive correspondence. Despite the sickly, from 1909 it opens the most fertile period for writing in verse of Gozzano, that in 1911 the public for the prestigious publisher Treves the second collection, Talks, which also incorporates some of the lyrics of the first volume. He also collaborates with magazines and newspapers, such as “New Anthology”, “Riviera” and “La Stampa”, without forgetting the “Corriere dei Piccoli”, which in 1914 published some children’s fairy tales then partly assembled in volume The three talismans . In 1912 they worsen the health of the poet, who goes on a journey to India, in a vain attempt to find a climate more suited to his unsteady conditions. However, the journey becomes a new opportunity to write notes of journey, which replace the most important prose Gozzano and that it will be published posthumously In the cradle of the world (1917). Between 1913 and 1914 he devoted himself to composing a didactic poem, The butterflies, which remained incomplete. After the outbreak of World War II, which of course the author can not attend, he retired to private life and away from writing and died in August 1916 after a severe attack of tuberculosis. They are posthumously published two collections of fairy tales (in addition to the three talismans, including The Princess Bride) and two collections of short stories, The last track and the altar of the past.
Gozzano’s poetry is thematically linked to that of the twilight: the interest in small things and everyday, the rejection of poetic D’Annunzio, the departure from the company, the inability to live an active life, illness and death. But the poet is distinguished by the tone ironic and detached with which addresses these issues. From the point of view of style, the colloquial prose of Gozzano, which elaborates in an educated and disenchanted the sublime model of D’Annunzio, becomes an important lesson for the next generation of poets: Eugenio Montale was the first to notice that Gozzano has made ” the clash ‘courtly with the prosaic”, being able to show the way out of the legacy of D’Annunzio, but does not reject it in every way.