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Introduction & Overview of On the Threshold

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On the Threshold Summary & Study Guide Description

On the Threshold Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains For Further Reading on On the Threshold by Eugenio Montale.

"On the Threshold" is a short lyric poem by the Nobel Prize—winning Italian poet Eugenio Montale. It was written in 1924 and published in 1925 in Italy as the first poem in Montale's Ossi di seppia (The Bones of Cuttlefish, 1983). The poem is also available in Montale's Collected Poems: 1920—1954 (1998), translated and annotated by Jonathan Galassi; in Eugenio Montale: Poems (2000), edited by Harry Thomas; and in Cuttlefish Bones: 1920—1927 (1992), translated by William Arrowsmith.

Taking some of its imagery from the Ligurian landscape of Montale's youth, "On the Threshold" is a poem about the need to live more fully and with greater freedom in the present, rather than be trapped in the stifling influence of the past. It is not only a plea for personal and spiritual freedom but perhaps also a call for a new type of poetry independent of the forms of the past. The poem is pessimistic in tone, however. While the poet urges his companion to make the leap to freedom, he appears unable to do so himself.

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Poetry for Students
On the Threshold from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.