Skip to main content

Alfieri, Vittorio, Conte

Vittorio Alfieri, Conte (vēt-tō´rēō kōn´tā älfyĕ´rē), 1749–1803, Italian tragic poet. A Piedmontese, born to wealth and social position, he spent his youth in dissipation and adventure. From 1767 to 1772 he traveled over much of Europe but returned to Italy fired by a sense of the greatness of his own country. He saw himself as a prophet called to revive the national spirit of Italy and chose tragic drama as his means. The first of his plays, Cleopatra, written in a vigorous, harsh, and individual style, was staged in Turin in 1775. From 1776 to 1786 he wrote 19 tragedies, among them Philip the Second, Saul, Antigone, Agamemnon, Orestes, Sophonisba, and Maria Stuart—all in the tradition of French classical tragedy. He also wrote comedies; a bitter satire against France, the Misogallo; and a revealing autobiography (1804, tr. by W. D. Howells, 1877). Alfieri's most productive period coincided with the beginning of his love for the countess of Albany, wife of Charles Edward Stuart, the Young Pretender. The rest of his life was spent with her; they may have married secretly after her husband's death. Alfieri's complete works, which figured in the rise of Italian nationalism, were posthumously edited and published (1805–15) by the countess. His tragedies were translated into English in 1815 and 1876. Della tirannia appeared as Of Tyranny (1961).

See biography by G. Megaro (1930, repr. 1971).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Alfieri, Vittorio, Conte." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . 15 Dec. 2018 <>.

"Alfieri, Vittorio, Conte." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . (December 15, 2018).

"Alfieri, Vittorio, Conte." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved December 15, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.