Vittorio Alfieri

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Alfieri, Vittorio


Born Jan. 16, 1749, in Asti; died Oct. 8, 1803, in Florence. Count; Italian poet.

Alfieri lived a stormy life, which he described (up to May 1803) in his autobiography, The Life of Vittorio Alfieri of Asti, Narrated by Himself (published in 1806; Russian translation, 1904). Alfieri was the creator of the Italian national classical tragedy, connected with Enlightenment ideology. Most important in the heritage which Alfieri has left are the tragedies written between 1775 and 1790. Alfieri himself classified them according to their themes as follows: “love” (Cleopatra, Philip, Rosamunda, Sophonisba, Octavia) “tragedies of freedom” (Virginia, The Pazzi Conspiracy, Timoleon, Agis, Brutus I, Brutus II); “tragedies about struggle for the throne” (Polynices, Agamemnon, Don Garcia, Mary Stuart); “tragedies of family feelings” (Orestes, Antigone, Merope, Alcestis); and “tragedies of inner struggle” (Myrrha, Saul). This classification is conditional; regardless of their plots, almost all the tragedies are filled with political content, affirm the idea of struggle against tyranny, and advocate patriotism. They influenced Italian tragedy of the end of the 18th century through the first quarter of the 19th century.

Alfieri also wrote six comedies in verse (1800–02), about 200 sonnets, the narrative poem Etruria Revenged, 16 satires, a collection of pamphlets entitled Misogallo (1799), many epigrams, and five odes, among them the revolutionary ones “Free America” and “The Capture of the Bastille”. He also translated works by several ancient authors.


Opere, vols. 1–22. Pisa, 1805–15.
In Russian translation:
Philip. Translated by N. Kurochkin. In Nevskii sbornik, vol. 1. St. Petersburg, 1867.


Glivenko, I. I. Vittorio Al’f ‘eri: Zhizn’ i proizvedeniia, vol. 1. St. Petersburg, 1912.
Dzhivelegov, A. K., and S. S. Mokul’skii. Istoriia zapadnoevropeiskogo teatr a, vol. 2. Moscow, 1957.
De Sanktis, F. Istoriia ital’ianskoi literatury, vol. 2. Moscow, 1964.
Mokul’skii, S. S. Ital’ianskaia literatura. . .. Moscow, 1966.
Reizov, B. G. Ital’ianskaia literatura XVIII v. [Leningrad], 1966.
Maier, B. E. Alfieri. [Palermo], [1957].
Bustico, G. Bibliografia di V. Alfieri. 3rd ed. Completely revised and extended to 1926. Florence, 1927.
Fabrizi, A. “Rassegna alfieriana (1961–67).” Lettere italiane, 1968, no. 1.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Vittorio Alfieri. Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Victor Alfieri; written by Himself.
In the notes to this Carteggio one can now read about the identification of a copy of Dante's Comedy with autograph marginalia by Vittorio Alfieri (p.
Known in Britain as the man who stole Bonnie Prince Charlie's wife, and in Italy as that country's first great tragic dramatist, Vittorio Alfieri was born 250 years ago in Asti, the area famous for its sparkling wine.
Alfieri's autobiography, published posthumously as Vita di Vittorio Alfieri scritta da esso (1804; The Life of Vittorio Alfieri Written by Himself), is his chief work in prose.
The unlucky prince was the subject of Schiller's tragedy Don Carlos and of dramas by Thomas Otway and Vittorio Alfieri. Verdi based one of his finest operas, Don Carlo or Don Carlos (1867), on Schiller's play.
Michael Lettieri e Rocco Mario Morano (a cura di), Sonetti sopra le tragedie di Vittorio Alfieri, Rubbettino: Soveria Manelli, Italia, 2014; cclxxix +120 pp.: 9788849842210, 22,00 [euro].
He also compares female national allegories: the artistic representation of Italy made by Canova in the Tomb of Vittorio Alfieri is an elegant, graceful but weeping figure; that of France made by Delacroix in Liberty Guiding the People leads into battle a group of Frenchmen "with the audacity of an experienced soldier" (167).
Sembra che Foscolo risponda specificamente a questa possibilita di personaggio quando egli ricorda, forse ironicamente: "L'unico mortale ch'io desiderava conoscere era Vittorio Alfieri; ma odo dire ch'ei non accoglie persone nuove: ne io presumo di fargli rompere questo suo proponimento che deriva forse da' tempi, da' suoi studj, e piu ancora dalle sue passioni e dall'esperienza del mondo.
L'Inghilterra di Vittorio Alfieri e altri studi alfieriani.
Le versioni dialettali nell'editoria napoletana tra Sei e Settecento" by Vincenzo Trombetta (147-68); "Un incunabolo della biologia moderna: la Lettera di Giovanni Cosimo Bonomo a Francesco Redi" by Alberto Nocentini (169-84); "Dalle Rime di Vittorio Alfieri alla Virtu sconosciuta" by Isabella Becherucci (185-204); and "'Pianta effimera noi': il ruolo dei classici greco-latini nella costruzione della Vita di Alfieri" by Silvia Montiglio (205-18).
Il dandy e il sublime: nuovi studi su Vittorio Alfieri. "Saggi di Lettere italiane" 58.
Nota sul terzo viaggio in Inghilterra di Vittorio Alfieri" (443-49); Recensioni (450-65); Notiziario (466); I Libri (467-70).