Vittoria Aganoor – Among the Likes of Boccaccio and Dante

Vittoria Aganoor

Vittoria Aganoor was an Italian poetess of Armenian descent. Her works have rightfully earned her a place among the most respected writers of the country, among the likes of Boccaccio and Dante.

Born into a noble Armenian family living in the Italian Padova, Vittoria has grown up in the “House of Armenians” (“Casa degli armeni”) until her family moved to Naples.

Aganoor’s father was a native of India (Madras) who had moved to Europe. He first lived in Paris but then moved to Italy to be closer to the Mekhitarists, the monks of the Armenian Catholic Church whose monastery was located on the Venetian island of San Lazzaro.

Vittoria Aganoor’s teacher during childhood was Italian writer Giacomo Zanella who was delighted with her early works and encouraged her to continue writing.

Aganoor published her first poetic collection, “Eternal Legend” (“Leggenda Eterna”), at the age of 45, dedicating it to the memory of her mother. Although Vittoria Aganoor had been worried that her work would not make the proper first impression, her book was extremely warmly received.

In his response to the canzones (Italian: “songs”) of Aganoor, Italian philosopher, intellectual, and critic Benedetto Croce wrote that these were “the most beautiful [poems] ever written by an Italian woman.” After such favorable reviews, Aganoor also published a second collection of poems titled “New Lyrics” (“Nuove liriche”).

Although she lived in luxury, Aganoor suffered from depression – traces of it can be found in her works. Poems and letters made it possible for her to relieve her depression, and Vittoria used them to get out of the quagmire of her melancholy, even if it was for a short while.

The death of mother shook Aganoor, but she would later recover from the psychological trauma thanks to her marriage with the Italian nobleman Guido Pompilj. However, shortly, Aganoor died suddenly from cancer, and her husband, suffering from grief, committed suicide on the same day.




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