CAMILLO FEDERICI (1749-1802), Italian dramatist and actor, was born at Garessio, a small town in Piedmont, on the 9th of April 1749. His real name was Giovanni Battista Viassolo, and that by which he is now known and which he transmitted to his children was taken from the title of one of his first pieces, Camillo e Federico. He was educated at Turin, and showed at an early age a great fondness for literature and especially for the theatre. The praises bestowed on his early attempts determined his choice of a career, and he obtained engagements with several companies both as writer and actor. He made a happy marriage in 1777, and soon after left the stage and devoted himself entirely to composition. He settled at Padua, and the reputation of his numerous comedies rapidly spread in Italy, and for a time seemed to eclipse that of his predecessors. Most of his pieces were of the melodramatic class, and he too often resorted to the same means of exciting interest and curiosity. He caught, however, something of the new spirit which was manifesting itself in German dramatic literature in the works of Schiller, Iffland and Kotzebue, and the moral tone of his plays is generally healthy. Fortune did not smile upon him; but he found a helpful friend in a wealthy merchant of Padua, Francis Barisan, for whose private theatre he wrote many pieces. He was attacked in 1791 with a dangerous malady which disabled him for several years; and he had the misfortune to see his works, in the absence of any copyright law, published by others without his permission. At length, in 1802, he undertook to prepare a collected edition; but of this four volumes only were completed when he was again attacked with illness, and died at Padua (December 23).
The publication of his works was completed in 14 volumes in 1816. Another edition in 26 volumes was published at Florence in 1826-1827. A biographical memoir of Federici by Neymar appeared at Venice in 1838.
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