That’s the title of an article in the New York Review of Books blog by Tim Parks.

My laconic friend Luigi’s answer was “No”.1 Parks comes to much the same conclusion, but in support he adds a great deal of insight and historical learning, which I am sure Luigi shares, internally.

I’ve yet to read a dull word by Tim Parks, and when he says that Italy is a country for initiates, I know exactly what he means. Good piece, overall, and I wonder what my Italian friends think of it.

But here’s something very strange. I was going to quote a line from the article, but when I went to copy it from the source article, it had changed. What’s there now, is:

“Every Italian,” Giacomo Leopardi dryly remarked in 1826 “is more or less equally honored and dishonored.”

In the version I downloaded yesterday, it is:

"No Italian," Giacomo Leopardi drily remarked in 1826 "is ever universally revered or despised."

What gives? No explanation at the page. Did Tim Parks the translator take issue with Tim Parks the writer? And who changed the popular “dryly” to the less-favoured “drily”? The public demands to know.

  1. As, indeed, is almost invariably true of a question in a headline. 

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