From the history of Italian literary criticism: Ugo Foscolo as a literary critic


Senior Researcher of the Department of Literary Studies, Institute of Scientific Information for Social Sciences of the Russian Academy of Sciences


The article gives an overview of literary criticism by Ugo Foscolo, the famous Italian poet of the early nineteenth century. Foscolo was one of the first Italian authors to go beyond the reflections on his own poetry and to insist on a clear distinction between the role of poet and that of critic. Being in opposition to the Italian «Romantics», he introduced the ideas and concepts of the pan-European Romantic thought into Italian literary criticism. The article considers one of the central categories of Foscolo’s poetic theory – the notion of the primordial poets (poeti primitivi), which historically goes back to the early Italian humanists and G. Vico, but with Foscolo gets a new content. The focus of the article is on Foscolo’s literary criticism of the period of his emigration to England: the works on Dante and Petrarch, as well as on Italian literature of the recent past, with particular attention paid to the poet’s criticism of the literary theory of A. Manzoni.


Ugo Foscolo; Romanticism; primordial poets; Petrarch; Dante.

DOI: 10.31249/lit/2023.01.01

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