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date: 13 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

According to the famous definition by Benedetto Croce, ‘Ugo Foscolo was a European man and writer; even if . . . the European literary world ignored him in the complexity of his personality and his major works.’ Almost a century later, Croce’s assertion is still useful: Foscolo was an intellectual of European significance, and locating him in a transnational context offers an enriched perspective on his life and works. His particular biographical and poetic trajectories made it easy for him to be overlooked in non-Italian literary contexts. Foscolo was European because he knew, as a writer and as a scholar, by nature and culture, how to escape the provincialism that permeated the academies of the Italian cities; far ahead of his time, he combined a classical education with encyclopedic culture and a critical sensibility in a way previously unknown in Italian letters.

Keywords: Classicism, Italy, Foscolo, biography, public intellectual, criticism, literary canon, European.

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