Ugo Foscolo and English Culture

Sandra Parmegiani

Italian Perspectives 20


12 May 2011  •  164pp

ISBN: 978-1-906540-60-9 (hardback)  •  RRP £75, $99, €85

ISBN: 978-1-351193-83-2 (Taylor & Francis ebook)


The history of the literary relations between Italy and England has its most celebrated early modern representative in Ugo Foscolo (1778-1827). Foscolo's translation of Laurence Sterne's A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy is often regarded as the benchmark of his English experience, but there is more - around and beyond his relationship with Sterne - that can be uncovered. With over 3,000 letters spanning three decades, Foscolo's correspondence represents a unique perspective from which to monitor his literary, philosophical, and political views. The 'Epistolario' is also a space in which Foscolo engages with literary, philosophical, and moral questions, and a place where he exercises an often private form of literary criticism. These are letters which ultimately produce one of the most complete yet most composite self-portraits in the history of modern Italian autobiography. In the first comprehensive and historicized reading of Foscolo's correspondence, Sandra Parmegiani reveals the rich and complex relations between the Italian writer and the literature, philosophy, and culture of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century England.

Sandra Parmegiani is Associate Professor of European Studies at the University of Guelph.


  • ‘Partecipe di un consistente e costruttivo dialogo critico con altri studiosi, Parmegiani non trascura di sondare, nel corso della propria disamina, il circostante terreno di ricerca presentando al lettore un resoconto attento ed attuale. Il libro costituisce in questa prospettiva un compendio indispensabile agli studi, tuttora in fieri, sui variegati rapporti intrattenuti da Foscolo con la cultura inglese. A questo elaborato mosaico Parmegiani ha avuto il merito di aggiungere con la propria indagine un autorevole tassello mancante.’ — Maria Giulia Carone, Annali d'Italianistica 2012
  • ‘A well written and highly informative account of Foscolo's career... Most readers of The Shandean will think of Foscolo predominantly as the translator of Sterne: it is fascinating to read of his attempts to make a literary career in London in the last decade of his life where, encouraged by John Cam Hobhouse, he crosses paths (and often swords) with such luminaries as Wordsworth, Byron, Samuel Rogers, Thomas Moore, John Murray, and Sir Walter Scott.’ — W. G. Day, The Shandean 167-72
  • ‘This book proves itself to be extremely important for a more global and at the same detailed analysis of Italian proto-Romanticism and Romanticism from a comparatively European viewpoint... The result is a convincing portrayal of Foscolo’s relationship with English culture, which will surely be helpful for both the Italian and Anglo-Saxon scholarships in Italian studies, as well as for the broader community of scholars in eighteenth-century and Romantic studies.’ — Fabio Camilletti, Journal of Modern Italian Studies 18.3, 2013, 364-65

Bibliography entry:

Parmegiani, Sandra, Ugo Foscolo and English Culture, Italian Perspectives, 20 (Cambridge: Legenda, 2011)

First footnote reference: 35 Sandra Parmegiani, Ugo Foscolo and English Culture, Italian Perspectives, 20 (Cambridge: Legenda, 2011), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Parmegiani, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Parmegiani, Sandra. 2011. Ugo Foscolo and English Culture, Italian Perspectives, 20 (Cambridge: Legenda)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Parmegiani 2011: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Parmegiani 2011: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

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