Ugo Foscolo

Ugo Foscolo (the name Ugo he adopted only later, his baptismal name was Niccolò Foscolo) was born in 1778 in Zakynthos (nowadays belonging to Greece on the west coast of the Peloponnes, in those days part of the Venice Republique) and died in 1827 in a suburb of London (Turnhamm Green). You find a detailed biographie here. He lived in the period which describes Giuseppe Abba (1838 - 1919) in Chronache a Memoria without knowing this period by own experience. The live of Ugo Foscolo is marked by the historical events. The French Revolution and its ideas influences Italy as well giving birth to a mouvement of national unification. A mouvement which is strenghten when Napoleon entered in Italy with his armee to fight Austria which occupies the north of Italy. Foscolo fights as a soldier in the french arme against Austria. Foscolo, a contemporary of Napoleon judges the later in a completely different way the Giuseppe Abba. After having left Venice to Austria in the treaty of Campo Formio (17th of october 1797) to recompensate Austria for the loss of the Netherlands and North Italy Napoleon established a dictatorial gouverment (The writings of Foscolo were forbidden, he lost his professorship at the university of Padua). Foscolo becomes an enemy of both France and Italy and was obliged to go to exile in Great Britain, a country against which he fought some years before as a french soldier. In London he lived the eleven last years of his live.

The poem A Zacinto was written in 1803 in Milano. At this time Foscolo had already enough experience with living in exile but until then he was exiled inside Italy. It is up to the reader to decide whether Zakynthos is the country he yearned for or just a metapher. Nowadays we would call home country the country we have been living for a long time, which language we spoke and with which culture we identify us and not the country we were born by chance.

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