Verlegt von
Garzanti (2018-05)


by Gardini, Nicola

A surprising journey into the Mother of European Languages by the author of the bestseller Viva il Latino.

Germans, French, Italians, Spaniards, Portuguese, Rumanians, Britons, Dutchmen, but also Scandinavians and even Russians and Hungarians may have little else in common, but they surely do share a great number of words which have their origins in an Indo-European idiom spoken at first by a small group of farmers in Central Italy: the Latins, hence Latin. Just in the sentence above, words like "common", "origin", "surely" or "have" come from Latin.

etelling the adventurous and fascinating story of 10 Latin words which - first through the Roman Empire, then through the Church, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Scientific and Industrial Revolution, and the Modern and Contemporary Age - have shaped Europe and, by contact, the rest of the world, Gardini shows us how from these first and ancient seeds a whole forest of meanings, misunderstandings , discussions and even battles have sprung .

With an astonishing gift for comparison, Gardini manages to connect most diversified sources - from ancient to modern literature, art, lexicography and mythology - into a unified tapestry. In this perspective, such different personalities as Cicerone, Shakespeare, Petrarch, Erasmus, Proust, Henry James, Dante, Newton, James Joyce and Virginia Woolf, to mention but a few - will appear to be of one discourse, sharing and developing a common legacy.

Nicola Gardini (1965) teaches Italian and Comparative literature at Oxford University.

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