The Betrothed: I Promessi Sposi

Overview

Alesandro Manzoni's I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed) is a great novel. Set during the war torn and plague infected years of early 17th Century Lombardy, the story takes account not only of the dramatic events brought about by the catastrophes of war and plague, but also the simple lives of the people caught up in the death and destruction of the times. We are immediately introduced to our two main characters, Renzo and Lucy, young peasants who are planning to be married. The local parish priest, Father Abbondio, ...
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Overview

Alesandro Manzoni's I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed) is a great novel. Set during the war torn and plague infected years of early 17th Century Lombardy, the story takes account not only of the dramatic events brought about by the catastrophes of war and plague, but also the simple lives of the people caught up in the death and destruction of the times. We are immediately introduced to our two main characters, Renzo and Lucy, young peasants who are planning to be married. The local parish priest, Father Abbondio, is warned by two ruffians not to perform the marriage on orders of the local nobleman, Don Rodrigo. Father Abbondio is a weak and cowardly man who complies with the orders he has been given. Renzo won't be stopped. He joins with Lucy's mother Agnes to form a plot to fool the padre and get the marriage performed, but they fail and must immediately leave their homes to prevent Don Rodrigo from kidnapping Lucy. Thus the novel begins and takes many twists and turns before the end when we finally find out what happens to Renzo and Lucy.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140442748
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 3/28/1984
  • Series: Penguin Classics Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 720
  • Sales rank: 191,052
  • Product dimensions: 5.14 (w) x 7.88 (h) x 1.22 (d)

Meet the Author

Alessandro Manzoni was born in 1785 near Lake Como, Italy. Sent to boarding school at the age of five, he felt estranged from his family, particularly when his mother left his father. As a young man Manzoni subscribed to the ideas of the French Revolution, joining his mother in Paris, where he married Henriette Blondel in 1808. He wrote throughout his life, but suffered from a nervous disorder which grew progressively worse through his lifetime. He died in 1873. Bruce Penman was a versatile linguist fluent in four languages, knowledgeable of ten. In 1984 his translation of China by Gildo Fossati won the John Florio Prize for best translation from the Italian. He died in 1986.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2004

    Best Italian Novel

    Great as War and Peace is great. Though not well known in America, this is THE national Italian novel. In This book has something for everyone. It has an intriquing, suspenseful plotline. The core of it is a love story. It has alot of amazing characters(some real people, and all very truly realized) such as The Nun of Monza and the despotic tyrant known only as 'the Unnamed'. Alot of important and interesting subjects are interwoven along the way: History, international politics, religion, science, etc, etc. Although sometimes very serious, Manzoni presents the events in a very creative and often very humorous way. Frankly, Manzoni is a better author than any British or American writer I can think of. While his style is like Dickens meets Tolstoy, he wrote it before either of those men were published. While the book is profound, it also serves as a beautiful travelogue of Northern Italy. Trust me, you'll love this book, whoever you are. Just read it!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2001

    Stick to Scott.

    This is for us Italians what Shakespeare is for the English: we study it at school, many end hating it, and it sounds funny in other languages. Despite its witticism and intriguing plot, and the fact I love it very much, I'd never recommend it to a foreigner: the fact is that Italian XVIII century novel doesn't mean much, and it's mostly an imitation of foreign romantic novel, in this case the English one. If you feel for some XVIII century original Italian art, get some Verdi. If you want to read a strong and more universal romantic novel you have plenty to choose.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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