In a file under the name of Giuseppe Cognata (1885-1972), a student of Humanities from Girgenti, the University of Catania Archives preserve a critical essay on Zanella and Leopardi. This work cannot be mistaken for a thesis or for the usual class exercises. It might have been written with the support and patronage of Luigi Capuana, professor of Italian Literature and Stylistics at the University in the first decade of the twentieth century. Following the teachings of Giosuè Carducci, the "New Italy" welcomed Giacomo Zanella as a "New Poet", a priest from Vicenza who conveyed the spirit of conciliation through poetry. Moreover, the cultural climate of the time had not forgotten the great Leopardi. Hence the comparison between the two made by a student of distinct Catholic faith capable, however, of not giving undue emphasis to the ecclesiastical condemnation of Leopardi's moral philosophy or to any form of dogmatism forgetful of the existential mystery of man.
Keywords: Leopardi, Zanella, Capuana, University, poetry