Item #1054 Dell’origine de dell’ ufficio della letteratura. Ugo Foscolo.
Dell’origine de dell’ ufficio della letteratura.
Forging a New Literature for a Burgeoning Nation – Beautifully Printed

Dell’origine de dell’ ufficio della letteratura.

Milano: Dall Stamperia Reale, 1809. Item #1054

8vo.  220 x 145 mm., [8 ¾ x 6 inches].  104 pp.  Original marbled paper wrappers, some light foxing in the text.  Excellent copy, printed in an edition of 1,300 copies, some on fine paper. 

Rare first edition of Foscolo’s controversial essay celebrating his appointment to the chair of literature at the University of Pavia. Written after the international success of his poem Dei sepolcri¸ Foscolo caused an uproar within the academic community by challenging the orthodoxy of literary convention.  He criticized contemporary literary practice as archaic and deadening to the imagination and freedom of expression.  He viewed literary society as stagnant and equated it with the confining regiment of the ancient regime.  He called on writers and thinkers to shake off the shackles of the past and to read the French and English writers and incorporate the style and form of the new writing.  For Foscolo Italy was entering a new age and the future of literature must embrace it and reflect its new conventions.  Foscolo was severely criticized for this essay and accused of literary heresy and the abandonment of his responsibility as an internationally respected author. 

Ugo Foscolo (1778-1827), was a poet, playwright, novelist, and patriot, straddled the transition from the 18th to the 19th century absorbing influences from both neoclassicism and romanticism.  At times his muse was Napoleon, at other times Goethe, and his dream of a liberated Venice and later the entire peninsula of Italy, permeated his writings and drove him to military service.  He is in the first ranks of Italian authors and at times considered the conscience of the burgeoning nation.

Excellent copy, beautifully printed in Milan by the Royal Printing House.  NUC cites copies at Berkeley, Harvard, Yale and NYPL, OCLC just cites Yale.

Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, 49, essay by Mario Scotti.  E.H.Wilkins, A History of Italian Literature, 378-385. 


Price: $1,750.00

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