Italia: (No publisher), 1802. First edition of one of the masterpieces of Italian Romanticism, an epistolary novel of unfulfilled, if not entirely unrequited, love and patriotism. Ugo Foscolo, best-known as the author of "Dei Sepolcri" and the sonnets, was born on the Ionian island of Zante of a Venetian father and a Greek mother in 1778, and died in 1827 in exile in England, where he was buried. In 1871, his body was exhumed and reinterred in Brunelleschi's Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence, where Macchiavelli, Galileo, Michelangelo, and Alfieri are buried, and which Foscolo celebrated in his most famous poem, "Of Tombs." The Last Letters of Jacopo Ortis was Foscolo's first work, written when he was only nineteen years old. Inspired by Goethe's Sorrows of Young Werther, it is a cri du Coeur for not only the betrayal of young love, but also of his country, as symbolized by Napoleon's cession of the Venetian Republic to Austria. "Jacopo, romantic hero and 'alter-ego' of Ugo Foscolo, ardent patriot and impassioned lover, finds, at the age of twenty-four, that he has drained the bitter cup of disillusion and deceit to the dregs, with his homeland sold and his beloved Teresa about to be joined to another man in an arranged marriage of interest." By turns rhapsodic and despairing, or manic and depressive, Jacopo is transformed into one of the earliest heroes of the Italian Risorgimento. Despite its almost unremitting gloom, The Last Letters "gains a sort of luminosity and even generates the hope of a wholly human immortality, granted not by a God who is unable to comfort men in their miseries, but by the solidarity which unites companions in misfortune and gives them everlasting gratitude for the memory of those who have sacrificed their own lives for others, who have not bowed down to tyranny, who have faced the bitterness of exile rather than submit to arbitrary power and injustice." - Victorio Massimo Manfredi, introduction to Last Letters of Jacopo Ortis, translated by J. G. Nichols (London: Hesperus, 2002). Ownership signature, some light foxing and faint marginal damp-staining, covers a trifle worn, otherwise a very good copy. Preserved in custom-made cloth chemise & quarter morocco & cloth slipcase. 8vo, contemporary quarter morocco and vellum boards.