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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume IV. Prose and Poetry: Sir Thomas North to Michael Drayton.

XII. Shakespeare on the Continent

§ 8. Influence of Voltaire’s opinions in Italy

In Italy, so far as the Italy of this period had any views about Shakespeare at all, Voltaire’s opinions dominated. Abbé Conti’s Cesare has already been mentioned, and, in the introductory epistles to that tragedy, he acknowledged his indebtedness, through the duke of Buckingham, to the famous English poet “Sasper”; Scipione Maffei referred to Shakespeare in 1736, while Francisco Quadrio, who first really introduced Shakespeare to the Italians, merely repeated in his Della Storia e della Ragione d’ogni Poesia (1739–52) what Voltaire had written. In Germany, on the other hand, there were some attempts, if not to subvert, at least to modify, the Voltairean dogma.