Eugenio Montale (1896 - 1981) was a Nobel Laureate and a grandmaster of Italian modernist poetry. For all its brevity, Xenia is hugely significant in unlocking the many clues to Montale's wry genius. Described by F. R. Leavis as "the product of that exquisite and sure tact which is consummate art", Xenia paints a poignant acoustic portrait of 'Mosca', Montale's deceased wife. The Xenia poems are among Montale's most moving and essential work. They map the haunting intimacies of a world characterised by personal and cultural loss, dealing subtly with the existential issues facing Europe in the aftermath of two World Wars and mass industrialisation.