Passeroni, Gian Carlo

Passeroni, Gian Carlo an Italian writer, for some time in .the service of the Church, was born in 1713 at Condamine, in the county of Nizza; he studied at Milan in the Jesuits' College, and afterwards took orders as a priest. He went to Rome with the papal nuncio, and afterwards returned to Milan, where he spent the rest of his life in a state of poverty often bordering upon destitution; but he was so used to be content with little that he felt no inconvenience from his condition. and constantly refused the offers of his numerous Milanese friends to relieve his wants. Passeroni was fond of study, and especially of poetry, and he had a great share in reforming the taste of the Italian writers of his age. Parini, who in his youth was intimate with Passeroni, afterwards admitted that to his precepts and example he owned the formation of his own style. The principal work of Passeroni is a half burlesque, half moral poem, styled Il Cicerone, in one hundred and one cantos. It is full of digressions, something similar in manner to Sterne's Tristram Shandy; but Passeroni's digressions are clearly intelligible, and have all a moral scope. A kind of parody of Cicero's life is used by the author as a thread whereon to hang his disquisitions. Passeroni ridicules or reproves the numerous follies and vices of society in a good-humored and often highly amusing strain, and his verses, like those of Ovid, seem to flow naturally and without effort from his pen. This facility, and the unaffected simplicity of the style, constitute the principal charm of the poem. Passeroni also wrote seven volumes of fables in verse, chiefly imitations of those of Esop, Phaedrus, and Avienus. He died at Milan in 1803.

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