The project of the periodical “Lo Spettatore fiorentino” (“The Florentine Spectator”) is a surprising attempt to challenge the ideology of progress using the typical means of that propaganda. With an ironic and cutting style, Leopardi addresses the varied audience of newspaper readers to help them recognise the unhappiness of living and, at the same time, share with them the “pleasure of the useless”. The light and moralistic tone of the Manifesto takes up the model of eighteenth-century publications, in particular the newspapers of Gaspare Gozzi. But the eulogy of the useless prefigures the deeds of the flâneur, a character who represents a suggestive interpretation key of the latest works by Leopardi.
University of Florence, Italy