• Date of Birth: May 5, 1849
  • Born City: Verona
  • Born State/Country: Italy
  • Parents: Gabriele & Antonia Bettini F.
  • Date of Death: September 23, 1918
  • Death City: Milan
  • Death State/Country: Italy
  • Married: Isabella Rezzonico, September 23, 1895
  • Education:

    : Faculty of Law, Padua, degrees in “both laws”(“in ambe le leggi”).

  • Professional Experience:

    Apprentice lawyer; intern, Palermo (1887-9; Messina (1889-95), chair in Greek, Turin (1895-8); Pavia, 1915-18. 

  • Publications:

    Verses (Verona, 1874); Le Odi di Pindaro (Verona, 1894); L'irrazionale nella letteratura (Turin, 1903); L'irrazionale nell'IliadeRIFC 32 (1904) 41–57; L'irrazionale e la critica omericaRIFC 33 (1905)  273–91; I lirici greci (elegia e giambo) (Milan & Rome, 1910); Platone. Il Sofista e l'uomo politico (Milan & Rome, 1911); “Critica filologica e critica filosofica a proposito di Pindaro, Cronache letterarie» 2 (18 Settembre 1911); “Arte e filologia,” Cronache letterarie 2 (21 maggio 1911); “Umanesimo e filologia,” Cronache letterarie 2 (30 luglio 1911); “La storia nella vita e nella scuola,” NRS 1 (1917) 4–20; L'educazione nazionale (Bologna, 1918); “Filologia e letteratura,”  NRS 2 (1918) 5–28; “Il Teatro greco,” NRS 3 (1919) 468–70.

    CorrespondenceIl carteggio Gaetano De Sanctis-Giuseppe Fraccaroli, ed. M. Guglielmo (Florence: Gonnelli, 2007).

  • Notes:

    Giuseppe Fraccaroli came from an old and illustrious family. Following his university degree he apprenticed as a lawyer before turning to literature under the Hellenist Eugenio Ferrai (1832-97) and the poet Giacomo Zanella (1820-88). Beginning his career as a poet, he dedicated his first book of poems to the Veronese neo-Romantic poet Aleardo Aleardi (1812-78), but soon stood alongside the Veronese poets Vittorio Betteloni (1840-1910), Gaetano Lionello Patuzzi (1841-1909), Berto Barbarani (1872-1945) and the painter Angelo Dall'Oca Bianca (1858-1942) in support of realism in Greek poetry (1887) against the stylistic displays of "aleardismo." The most influential of the realists was Giosuè Carducci (1835-1907), the first Italian to win the Nobel Prize in Literature (1906). Carducci worshipped the ancients for their aesthetic value but recognized that ancient metric could not be adapted to modern Italian. Fraccaroli composed two volumes on the genesis of classical (1881) and Italian meters (1887), but he was not a philologist and though he supported classical studies in the schools, he opposed the teaching of philology (1905). His realism was criticized as both contradictory and vague. Nevertheless, his favorite poet was Pindar, whom he to a degree popularized among the Italians of his time.

    Fraccaroli’s aesthetic approach conflicted with the Florentine Girolamo Vitelli (1849-1935), a champion of the German scientific method. Fraccaroli and Vitelli battle in print over the Vitelli’s method as evidenced in the work on Bacchylides by his student Nicola Festa (1866-1940). With his study of the irrational in literature, Fraccaroli attacked the German methods and maintained his aesthetic standpoint, this time running afoul of the classicist and musician Ettore Romagnoli (1871-1938). On aesthetic grounds, Fraccaroli concluded that the Iliad and Odyssey were written by the same man. Greek poetry was realistic because it was so compellingly original and spontaneous. The opposite was stylized rhetoric, which he attacked in L'arte e le teoriche (1889).

    In his last year at Messina, he published his Pindar (dedicated to his teacher Zanella) in an attempt to popularize the most difficult of Greek poets, but his translation was almost as difficult as the original and the project unsuccessful. In the next year he was called to the chair of Greek at Turin following the death of Giuseppe Müller (1825-95). In the same year he married the daughter of an Austrian officer, but three years later he set off on extended official and research trips throughout Europe. While he was away, his wife, feeling abandoned, put it about through her lawyer, Giuseppe Columbo that so besmirched his reputation at Turin that Fraccaroli did not feel he could return to teaching there. He moved to Milan in 1906 where he met a sympathetic Gaetano De Sanctis (1870-1957), who gave Fraccaroli the task of revising the first two volumes of his Storia dei Romani (Turin, 1906-7). Fraccaroli also initiated the Greek Thought series, which was the first to show the state of Italian classical study through translations of ancient works by important Italian scholars, including Fraccaroli’s contributions of elegant introductions to but unsuccessful translations of the elegists and iambicists (1910) and melic poets (1913). He also loosely translated the Ecclesiazusae into Veronese in 1909. In 1915 he assumed the chair at Pavia, where he lived and taught quietly until three years later when he was fatally struck by a wagon. He left everything he owned to the city of his birth.

  • Sources:

    C. Pascal, Riv. delle nazioni latine, 3 (1918) 336; C.O. Zuretti, RF 47 (1919) 5-26; C. Barbagallo, Giuseppe Fraccaroli e l'opera sua (Bologna 1919); E. Bignone, RF 47 (1919) 488-9 Piero Treves, Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, 1997; Enzo Degani, Il Fraccaroli nella storia della filologia classica, in Studi sulla tradizione classica per Mariella Cagnetta, ed L. Canfora (Rome-Bari, 1999) 213–22; G.D. Baldi-A. Moscadi, Filologi e antifilologi. Le polemiche negli studi classici in Italia tra Ottocento e Novecento (Florence: Le Lettere, 2007).

  • Author: Ward Briggs