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On the Threshold Criticism

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Montale's collection Cuttlefish Bones, in which "On the Threshold" appears, was an immediate critical success on its Italian publication in 1925. Leading Italian literary critics hailed Montale as an important new poet. According to Rebecca J. West, writing in the Dictionary of Literary Biography:

The young poet's muted yet powerful "counter-eloquence" . . . met with widespread approval, especially at that moment in Italian culture, when Fascist bombast proliferated and the spiritual malaise of many was being smothered by declarations of certainty, prosperity, and optimism.

Recognition and appreciation of Montale's work in the English-speaking world came more slowly. Although the first translation into English of a poem by Montale was published in T. S. Eliot's journal Criterion in 1928, it was not until the 1960s that English translations became widely available. During the 1970s, a marked increase of critical essays on Montale's poetry could be seen. This trend was further stimulated by Montale's...

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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.