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The Leeds Library - Gems from the 1768 Collection

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Baretti vs. Sharp: a brisk paper on the state of Italy by Lucy Evans

In 1766 Samuel Sharp, distinguished surgeon, friend of Voltaire, published Letters from Italy, describing the customs and manners of that country in the years 1765, and 1766. A year later the second edition came to the outraged attention of Guiseppe Baretti.

Baretti, distinguished gentleman of letters, friend of Dr Johnson, objected strongly to Sharp’s views and produced in retaliation ‘An Account of the Manners and Customs of Italy’, published in 1768 with a second edition in 1769, ‘corrected, with notes and an appendix added, in answer to Samuel Sharp.’

Sharp countered again with ‘A view of the customs, manners, drama,&. Of Italy, as they are described in the Frusta letteraria; and in the Account of Italy....written by Mr. Baretti: compared with the Letters from Italy, written by Mr. Sharp’.

Baretti, a man who never tired of a feud, finished the debate in 1768 with ‘An Appendix to the Account of Italy In Answer to Samuel Sharpe, Esq.’.

Was this a knockout blow? The matter enthralled the contemporary literary world. The Leeds Library holds much of this ‘brisk paper-war and even better an early reader has entered into the fray, adding their own partisan annotations to Baretti’s ‘Account of Italy’

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18 Commercial Street

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LS16AL

United Kingdom

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