Author(s)  E.Yu. Saprykina
Information about the author(s)  Elena Yu. Saprykina, DSc in Philology, Senior Researcher, A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25 a, 121069 Moscow, Russia. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Received  December 12, 2016
Published  March 25, 2017
Issue  2017 Vol. 2, №1
Department  World Literature
Pages  90-109
DOI  10.22455/2500-4247-2017-2-1-90-109
UDK  821.131.1
BBK  83.3 (1 Ита)
Abstract The article focuses on different takes on the subject of suffering in Italian literature of the beginning of the 19 th century. Being a feature topic of the Romantic literature, it is intimately linked with the central Romantic interest in a person’s probing into “selfhood,” into spiritual depths and moral assets. My focus is on two works of the first half of the 19 th century. Namely, Ugo Foscolo’s novel Ultime lettere di Jacopo Ortis, which deals with all major Romantic concerns of the epoch of the national liberating movement of the Risorgimento, and a book by a hero and cultural activist of this epoch Silvio Pellico Le mie prigioni. The latter is a key text of the Romantic Lombardy school, marked by moralistic Christian views typical for this school and by the appealing artistic truthfulness of its narration. The very concept of suffering and the image of “an unhappy youth” caught a number of unique highlights under the pen of these writers. To the foreground of the romantic scope of sufferings, they have brought a very strong feeling of national pride abused by usurpers. The literature of the Risorgimento takes its “unhappy youth” through different stages of the offended patriotic sentiment and makes him seek an individual path earned by hard personal suffering, which is an alternative to the familiar Italian bitter lot. It is possible to seek and find such independence, if not by battling with the motherland’s enemies, then by plunging into the riches of the inner soul, mind, faith in Providence, or even in a prepared and symbolic act of wilful taking of one’s own life. 
Keywords  Romanticism, Risorgimento, suffering, “unhappy young man,” Ugo Foscolo, Ultime lettere di Jacopo Ortis, Silvio Pellico Le mie prigioni
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