Home News The life of Vittorio Alfieri, the libertines, and the lady who fought smallpox

The life of Vittorio Alfieri, the libertines, and the lady who fought smallpox

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“Alfieri and other eighteenth century” is the title of the literary afternoon that will take place on Saturday 20 November, from 3.30 pm, in the conference room of Palazzo Mazzetti (corso Alfieri 357).

The organizes it Foundation of the Alphierian Studies Center, with the patronage of the University of Turin, in the sign of the restart, albeit at a delicate moment in its existence: since last year the Foundation has been a commissioner. In fact, last November, following controversies on the state of the body, the Board of Directors (made up of representatives of the Region, Province, Municipality and Chamber of Commerce) had unanimously voted the motion of no confidence towards the president Valter Boggione, who a month later, on Christmas Eve, had submitted a letter of resignation. In February, Professor Giulia Anastasia Carluccio, Vice Rector of the University of Turin, had been appointed extraordinary commissioner.

While we are studying how to ferry the Foundation away from the budgetary “shoals” in which it found itself, its activities have never been interrupted, such as the Alfieri Chair held in the summer, and now this afternoon dedicated to the presentation of recent publications and studies linked to Alfieri and his time. “With” Alfieri and other eighteenth century “- indicates Carla Forno, director of the Foundation – we mean a wide range of themes, through which human and intellectual personalities representative of the time come to life, including politics, medicine and libertinism”. The program will open just with Carla Forno, Maria Teresa Giaveri and Enrico Mattioda, both professors at the University of Turin. Carla Forno will finally be able to present in her city the edition of “Vita” written by Alfieri and published by Feltrinelli exactly one year ago. The pandemic had prevented organizing a meeting to illustrate the peculiarities of a reference edition, which takes into account the most recent studies (about thirty years had passed since the previous one).

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With Maria Teresa Giaveri, author of a very successful book, “Lady Montagu and the dragoman. Adventurous journey to the origins of vaccines “ (Neri Pozza publisher), we will discover the fictional life, in the London of the first decades of the 19th century, of an enterprising lady, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, wife of the English ambassador to Constantinople, engaged in the fight against the scourge of smallpox, after having learned, during a stay in Turkey, of the possibility of immunization through the bizarre practice of inoculating the virus. The book, conceived before the Covid pandemic, reconstructs the adventurous story of an idea destined to change the fate of humanity, in a universe troubled by devastating epidemics. Maria Teresa Giaveri was full professor of French Literature and Comparative Literature.

Stefano De Luca, professor of History of Political Doctrines at the Suor Orsola Benincasa University of Naples, will draw attention to the great themes of Alfieri’s political thought, while Vincenzo Ferrone of the University of Turin, will offer the results of new research dedicated in particular to the dialectical relationship between Alfieri and the Enlightenment.

It will close the meeting Giorgio Ficara, professor of Italian literature at the University of Turin, author of «Vite libertine» (La Nave di Teseo), with Enrico Mattioda. A fascinating book in which more or less well-known characters emerge, investigated in relation to the fundamental theme of the century, the pursuit of happiness. From Voltaire to Madame du Châtelet, from Casanova to the Earl of Chesterfield, to Cardinal Bernis and the navigator La Pérouse, each character is captured in a crucial moment in his life, where happiness and melancholy meet, but also capital questions about justice and equality.

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In collaboration with the “Giuseppe Verdi” Music Institute of Asti, the young guitarist Matteo Decarolis, a pupil of Stefano Goia will propose a musical intervention.

Free entry with green pass.

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