With the entrance of his autographs in the Laurentian Library, Vittorio Alfieri (cat. n. 9), who had engaged his efforts in the study of Greek and Latin models, became himself a 'classic'. Between the end of the 18th and the first two decades of the 19th century the civil message contained in his works which had been published in a great number of editions, as well as the success of his tragedies played in public theatres and his fame all over Europe established him definitely as a poet.
The Laurentian Library (cat. n. 197), the most splendid Library of the Grand Duchy, welcomed his papers in a moment of great cultural excitement due to the yearning for political unity and the influence of the verses by Ugo Foscolo. Thus, one of the highest expressions of Italian 18th century literature, matured through constant comparison with French Illuminist thought, became part of the most important collection of classical and humanistic texts of the time.
It was also due to the presence of his works in the Laurentian Library, a totally unforeseeable consequence of a series of inheritances, that the poet Alfieri won his battle against Time, the winged old man holding a scythe which appears in his ex-libris (cat. n. 183), an enemy which often he had lost hope to win.
Time, which can only be defeated by Fame - in a lay and humanistic vision of life - is the basic theme, the key to the entire corpus of the autographs sent down to us by Alfieri and of this exhibition. The margins of his papers bear an immense number of dates dotted down by the poet himself in order to fix the beginning and end of a creative phase, of a working session, of a moment of inspiration.
These notes that can be found in his autographs and printed volumes alike weave a kind of web around his work and only apparently have a chronological value. They do not record Time as calendars or the hands of a clock do, they register instead the different circumstances of creation; they allow us to sense the poet's melancholy and all those feelings that, as Giacomo Debenedetti wrote, put him in the condition to compose verse.
Alfieri himself, on the other hand, as a true archivist of his own world, selected and ordered his manuscripts in such a way that his biography and poetical vocation came to coincide.
His papers in the Laurenzian Library refer to a period of around thirty years, from 1773 to 1803, from the Esquisse du jugement universel (cat. n. 150) and the Primi tentativi tragici e lirici di un poeta in erba through the outlines in prose and versifications of his tragedies and political treaties to his autobiography, conceived both as a piece of narrative, a diary, and a collection of poems. For this reason the first exhibit is the Rendimento di conti da darsi al tribunal d'Apollo (cat. n. 1), where Alfieri records according to an annalistic criterion his Anni letterari, and one of the last and most important exhibits is the Vita scritta da esso (cat. n. 173) (cat. n. 174), whilst some of his Rime are displayed during the itinerary in order to mark the different phases.
Catalog number 9
Catalog number 197
Catalog number 183
Catalog number 150
Catalog number 1
Catalog number 173
Catalog number 174
|Next... Top Search the catalog|