There are charming young ladies and polite young men whose every effort goes into material pleasures: things of enjoyment, parties and celebrations are their sole desires; their only care the money that provides rich loam for those desires. Their spirits seek no nutriment but to appear beautiful in others’ eyes and to avoid embarrassment. Their minds know no pleasures that are really their own.
Ask one of them if he would like to have been Scipio or Dante or Galileo and he will tell you that Scipio, Dante and Galileo are dead. Life is all for them.
What a bell this rings for us old grumps who are sick and tired of vacuous celebrities. And it was written in 1858!
Ippolito Nievo, Confessions Of An Italian p. 70