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The Betrothed (I Promessi Sposi)

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Book Overview

"The great plague novel." --The New Yorker Set in Lombardy during the Spanish occupation of the late 1620s, The Betrothed tells the story of two young lovers, Renzo and Lucia, prevented from marrying... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

Among the Dozen Greatest Novels of All Time

Manzoni is the preeminent figure of Italian fiction - akin to Cervantes in Spain, Twain in the USA and Hugo in France. Not only was he a fabulous writer, Manzoni was also looked upon as a kind of beloved father figure for the shapers of modern Italy. (Verdi wrote his Requiem to mark the first anniversary of Manzoni's death). Certainly, with this work, he shaped the Italian language, in much the same way that Martin Luther shaped German with his translation of the Bible. Although he was also a poet, his well-deserved international reputation rests chiefly upon this book. It is an episodic tale, in a Don Quixote sense, of love between two delighful people, Lucia Mondella and Renzo Tramaglino. Their love persists and prevails, in spite of their separation and nearly every kind of challenge imaginable. There are religious themes in the book, of course, since it is a faithful rendering of its epoch. These serve to heighten the drama. As the author says in Chapter 38: "Troubles certainly often arise from occasion afforded by ourselves; but the most cautious and blameless conduct cannot secure us from them; and, when they come confidence in God alleviates them." Amid the themes of patriotism in the face of Spanish rule and faithfulness that overcomes tyrants, riots and plague, there is no better depiction of leave taking than in this novel. And surely, every Italian immigrant to America must have felt the same stirrings. Indeed, if you have an Italian ancestry, this is your "Roots". Read this book and soak up your heritage, in ways that you cannot elsewhere. The sad thing is that this is Manzoni's only novel; it is as if Twain had written only Tom Sawyer, or Dickens, only Great Expectations. If you find this review helpful you might want to read some of my other reviews, including those on subjects ranging from biography to architecture, as well as religion and fiction.

I promessi sposi

It's a great book and it includes excersizes for vocab. and charater review and plot review. It's great. I highly reccomend it.

Simply great

This is the most famous book in Italian literature. Most students hate it, but their opinion just doesn't count because for them it is but brutal forced reading. Manzoni's "The Betrothed" can be enjoyed on various levels. In the first place, it is packed with action: there's the good guy, the imperiled damsel, the arch-villain, the saintly friar and various comic characters like the cowardly priest and his spinster-servant. The plot is tipically Nineteenth Century: the loving couple can't get married because the arch-villain gets in their way and starts all the tribulations. On the other hand, the whole plot can be seen as a religious parable (and that is why students hate this book: they are forced to see the whole matter from this point of view ONLY.) on Providence. Thirdly, the book can be seen as an authoritative historical text about the Sixteenth Century. Unlike his colleague Walter Scott, whose Middle Ages look like a Hollywood movie starring Liz Taylor, Manzoni wrote "The Betrothed" after a serious hystorical reserach: almost every episode is historically based and he made use of Sixteenth-century chronicles and laws as a basis for his story's context. On top of this, the characters aren't mere literary creations. They are alive and pop out of every page as living creatures with all their humanity. Everything in them denounces Manzoni as a keen observer of the human heart. I highly recommend this book. Buy it and enjoy it!

Must reading for Italian students

My Italian wife "demanded" that I read this book. Then she was amazed that I found the story so exciting and the history so interesting. Most Italians are required to read it in school as it is the book which established "Italian" as the official language of Italy and it is extremely well written in Italian. This translation makes the story seem like a modern adventure.
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