Alfieri, Vittorio (1749-1803)
Alfieri, Vittorio, Count, Italian poet, was born at Asti, in Piedmont, 17th January 1749. His education was very defective, but at fourteen he found himself master of a vast fortune. The chief interest of his youth was a passion for horses, which he retained through life. The years 1767-72 he spent in travelling through Europe, after which, at Turin, he devoted himself to literary pursuits, renouncing idleness and unworthy amours. The applause which his first attempts received encouraged him to win fame as a dramatist, so at a mature age he began to learn Latin, and also to study the Tuscan dialect in Tuscany. At Florence in 1777 he made the acquaintance of the Countess of Albany (q.v.), wife of Prince Charles Edward ; and she having quitted her husband in 1780, and been formally separated from him in 1784, from that time onward the two lived together, chiefly in Alsace or Paris, until the Revolution drove them first to England, and next to Florence. Here Alfieri died, 8th October 1803. Their ashes repose in the church of Santa Croce, in Florence, under a beautiful monument by Canova, between the tombs of Michelangelo and Macchiavelli. Alfieri published twenty-one tragedies, six comedies, and the 'tramelogedia' Abele, a mixture of tragedy and opera. His Opere (22 vols. Pisa, 1805-15) also include an epic in four cantos, an autobiography (3d ed. 1903 ; trans. 1S01), many lyrical poems, sixteen satires, &c. See his Life by Centofanti (1842) and Teza (1861), and his Letters, edited by Mazzatini (1890).
1. Chamber's Biographical Dictionary, Philadelphia, 1926, page 22.
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