The uses of exile: Ugo Foscolo and Thomas Moore
- Číslo 57 
PublisherUniverzita Karlova, Filozofická fakulta
SourceLitteraria Pragensia, 2019, 57, 132-144
KeywordsKeywords not found
This essay examines the ways in which two Romantic-period contemporaries, the Irishman, Thomas Moore, and the Italian, Ugo Foscolo, wrote about their respective countries so as to command general political sympathy from readers. They were both exiles. Moore left Ireland, and then England, compelled to live for a while in France because of financial embarrassment. Foscolo, born in Zakynthos, fled the post-Napoleonic Austrian administration of Lombardy, settling in London. Both were welcomed to Holland House, chief salon of the Whigs, sharing their liberal ideology and political aspirations. The texts principally examined are Moore’s Irish Melodies, significantly interchangeable with his National Airs, and Foscolo’s Ultime lettere di Jacopo Ortis, with occasional reference to some of his poetic projects. In their different ways, both literary efforts strategically represent nationalist sentiments un-specifically. Moore employs an apparently vague sentimentalism and Foscolo an unreliable narrator to make Irish and Italian patriotism transferrable. They write as well as live a purposeful exile. Apparently culpable narrative incoherence in the Lettere or lack of emotional specificity in the Melodies are actually designed to let usefully powerful allies appropriate such writings to voice, as their own nationalist sentiments, causes originally Irish and Italian. Native estrangement enables international solidarity. This essay examines the uses of literature to express the common ground exile can reveal.