I would like to make an essential list of the top-ten most representative Italian literary works ever, something like a Canon of Italian Literature (or Italian books everyone should read at least once in their lifetime). The works should be representative of Italian language
- throughout the centuries
- across literary genres
- across geographic areas
The list should be as objective as possible, i.e. it should be based on solid historical foundations, not just personal taste.
For example, the list would not be well-balanced if ten works by the same author were provided, or ten written in the same century or ten belonging to the same literary genre or ten written by authors from the same geographic area. Analogously, the list would not be good if it neglected historically illustrious authors or glorious masterpieces in favour of minor authors or works, or authors or works touched by short-lived glory.
Each work in the list should have the format
[name and surname of author]. [year]. [title].
and sorted in chronological order.
My list could be something like this:
- Dante Alighieri. 1321. Divina Commedia.
- Giovanni Boccaccio. 1351/1353. Decameron.
- Francesco Petrarca. 1374. Canzoniere.
- Niccolò Machiavelli. 1513. Il Principe.
- Ludovico Ariosto. 1532. Orlando Furioso.
- Ugo Foscolo. 1802. Le ultime lettere di Jacopo Ortis.
- Giacomo Leopardi. 1837. Canti.
- Alessandro Manzoni. 1842. I Promessi Sposi.
- Luigi Pirandello. 1904. Il fu Mattia Pascal.
- Umberto Eco. 1980. Il nome della rosa.
This is just an example and, although it reflects pretty well the criteria above, it also comes with some major drawbacks: it is entirely focused towards the past; contemporary Italian is virtually missing; it is not sufficiently representative of Italian areas; not a single female author is in there (in my opinion Grazia Deledda's Canne al vento is no match compared to others in the list and many other candidates).
For the reasons above, feel free to propose your own lists.
P.S. Apparently I Promessi Sposi was edited between 1840 and 1842 (after la risciacquatura in Arno, known as edizione quarantana).
I have found a Canon of 137 Italian literary works from Italian Wikisource. Seems very authoritative. More details in the talk page.