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The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni

The Betrothed (1827)

by Alessandro Manzoni

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,260374,685 (4.01)1 / 137
Portraying plague-ravaged 17th century Lombardy, through the lives of two lovers, The Betrothed explores the corrupt and oppressive rule of Lombardy's Spanish oppressors and also, by implication, of the later Austrians.
  1. 10
    Les Misérables by Victor Hugo (chrisharpe)
  2. 00
    Salammbô by Gustave Flaubert (rahkan)
    rahkan: Another sumptuous historical tale, featuring scenes of wild emotion and excess
  3. 00
    Sotto il nome del cardinale by Edgardo Franzosini (Oct326)
    Oct326: Questo piccolo saggio parla di Giuseppe Ripamonti (storico le cui opere furono una delle fonti dei "Promessi Sposi") e di Federico Borromeo (uno, com'è noto, dei personaggi principali del romanzo). Protetto del Borromeo, il Ripamonti a un certo punto cadde misteriosamente in disgrazia e finì in carcere, e altrettanto misteriosamente fu poi riabilitato. Franzosini racconta (bene) come e perché, ed è un racconto che non può non essere interessante anche per i lettori del gran romanzo di Manzoni.… (more)

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English (24)  Italian (10)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  German (1)  All languages (37)
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
I read this because in an interview Frank M. Snowden, a professor emeritus of history and the history of medicine at Yale, called it "the great plague novel." What Snowden didn't say is that the plague doesn't even get mentioned for more than 500 pages and doesn't really make an appearance until at least 100 more!

The plot is trite, the characters simplistic, and the ending preposterous, but Manzoni was much more interesting as a historian than novelist - the chapters about the forms that power took in 17th-century Italy, about the bread riots, and yes, the plague in particular, are fascinating and make the 720-page trudge worthwhile. ( )
  giovannigf | Mar 23, 2020 |
Letto prima dell'inizio della scuola ecco perchè mi è piaciuto! ( )
  Ste1955 | Apr 24, 2019 |
Mi è capitato fra le mani mentre mettevo a posto la stanza e non posso farci nulla, non mi è piaciuto la prima, non l'ho sopportato la seconda ma la terza volta, ormai abituata a libri di tutt'altro spessore sono rimasta a dir poco allibita. Considerato dalla maggioranza una grande opera io la trovo noiosa, assurdamente. benchè sia ben caratteriata per gli anni che furono trovo Renzo stupidamente impulsivo e sciocco, Don Abbondio una vergogna per tutti coloro che si ritengono seguaci della Chiesa Cattolica, Lucia in grado di farmi venire un'ulcera a causa della sua passività e mancanza di ogni più più piccola forma di forza caratteriale (anche minima!) e Don Rodrigo? Beh è il cattivo... se non altro almeno quello è abbastanza interessante. Pagine su pagine a descrivere paesaggi, villaggi e viaggi infiniti mentre le scene principali si risolvono in fretta, pagina dopo pagina. Approfondimenti inutili su personaggi altrettanto inutili e... beh lo devo ammettere leggere dei LOMBARDI che parlano praticamente Toscano mi ha fatto pensare, per quanto avesse voluto dare alla sua opera una nota 'rivoluzionaria' con la sua terza stesura, beh siamo frachi avrebbe potuto pensare che mettere uno stentato italiano (toscano) in bocca a Renzo beh.. sarebbe risultato assurdo! L'unico pezzo che ho adorato è stato il ventottesimo capitolo (mi pare) con l' ''Addio a Cecilia'', davvero mi sono commossa.
Per il resto... credo che una volta fosse tìgià troppa ma tre ... =_=Non ho messo brutto, perchè l'opera ha il suo valore, semplicemente non incontra i miei gusti. ( )
  Nasreen44 | Jun 8, 2017 |
Strange to say, although in times of immediate danger, in face of an enemy, the image of death always breathed new spirit into him and filled him with angry courage, the same image appearing to him in the silence of the night, in the safety of his own castle, afflicted him with sudden dismay. For this time it was not death at the hands of a mortal like himself that threatened him; not a death that could be driven off by better weapons or a quicker hand. It was a death that came all alone, from within; it might still be far away, but every moment brought it a stride nearer.

-- The Betrothed, page 370

I've just finished my first Classics Club challenge book, Alessandro Manzoni's The Betrothed. The Betrothed is an Italian classic, a Catholic classic, and one of the world's most influential historical novels. First published in 1827, it was well worth the read.

I wrote a little about the background and plot of the novel in an earlier post, so I won't repeat myself here, but as a reminder, The Betrothed is the story of Lucia and Renzo, a young couple living in seventeenth century Italy who simply want to get married. Unfortunately, the Spanish occupation has brought the evil Don Rodrigo into the picture, and his desire for Lucia interferes with their plans in a most tragic way. Though this conflict forms the core of the plot, there are several other side stories and characters that are equally as interesting, and that lift the story from a mere romance to, as Daniel Burt calls it, "a panoramic depiction of an entire culture and its values."

For me, and I suspect for many, the most memorable part of the novel is Manzoni's vivid description of the Milan plague of 1630. Manzoni's meticulous research and his attention to detail serve him well as he describes the effect of the plague on the citizens of Milan.

But I also was moved by two key conversations in the novel, both of which involve the historical figure of Cardinal Federigo Borromeo, younger cousin of St. Charles Borromeo. Federigo was the Archbishop of Milan beginning in 1595, and Manzoni does a masterful job of portraying his faith and wisdom, especially when he meets with those who struggle with living out their faith. Like the Bishop of Digne in Les Misérables, Borromeo is a model of what an archbishop should be. Pope Francis challenges all priests "to be shepherds with the smell of sheep," and Archbishop Federigo Borromeo illustrates that vividly, especially when contrasted with the weak priest Don Abbondio.

The other character I was most fascinated by was the man known only as "The Unnamed." In fact, it was after his introduction into the story that I really began to appreciate Manzoni's writing. The complexity of his character, his impact on the plot, and the inner workings of his mind and soul drew me even further into the story.

The Betrothed is a true classic of Catholic literature, displaying faith as the integral part of human life that it is. However, this is no sugar-coated treatment of Christian life. Not all clergy and religious are virtuous in The Betrothed, and characters struggle with courage, doubt, nihilism, and forgiveness.

All in all, I highly recommend The Betrothed, especially for those who like historical fiction. It would also make a good read for a book group, with lots to talk about. If you do decide to read it, you may find The Betrothed Map helpful. ( )
1 vote nsenger | Nov 2, 2016 |
The Betrothed. Alessandro Manzoni. 1827. This is Pope Francis’ favorite novels and is considered to be one of the greatest Italian novels of all times. I knew nothing about it until Pope Francis mentioned it. Our book club decided to read it. It is a historical novel and love story set in what is now northern Italy in the early 1600s. Renzo and Lucia are a devoted devout couple who plan to marry. Don Rodrigo, a local baron, has decided he fancies Lucia and forbids the local priest to marry them. The terrified priest refuses to marry them, and Don Rodrigo’s thugs try to kidnap Lucia. She is aided and saved by Fr. Christopher who puts her in a convent and sends Renzo to another city. Eventually after wars, famine, the plague, and various misadventures the two are united. The novel is filled with unsavory characters and saintly characters. I was impressed with the goodness of the cardinal and the miraculous change of hear of the vile Unknown. The book reminded me of a Dickens novel, and I am glad I read it. I hesitate to recommend it unless you want to lose yourself in a 800 page historical romance. ( )
  judithrs | Apr 27, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (197 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Manzoni, AlessandroAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Angelini, CesareEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Boeke, YondTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bottoni, LucianoEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Colquhoun, ArchibaldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eliot, Charles WilliamEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gallego, Juan NicasioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gonin, FrancescoIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kroeber, BurkhartTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Krone, PattyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marchese, AngeloEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Penman, BruceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Raimondi, EzioEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Salvà, Maria AntòniaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Spinazzola, VittorioEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vallverdú, FrancescTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Quel ramo del lago di Como, che volge a mezzogiorno, tra due catene non interrotte di monti, tutto a seni e golfi, a seconda dello sporgere e del rientrare di quelli, vien quasi a un tratto, a ristringersi, e a prender corso e figura di fiume, tra un promontorio a destra, e un'ampia costiera dall'altra parte; e il ponte, che ivi congiunge le due rive, par che renda ancor più sensibile all'occhio questa trasformazione, e segni il punto in cui il lago cessa, e l'Adda ricomincia, per ripigliar poi il nome di lago dove le rive, allontanandosi di nuovo, lascian l'acqua distendersi e rallentarsi in nuovi golfi e nuovi seni.
THAT branch of the lake of Como, which extends towards the south, is enclosed by two unbroken chains of mountains, which, as they advance and recede, diversify its shores with numerous bays and inlets. Suddenly the lake contracts itself, and takes the course and form of a river, between a promontory on the right, and a wide open shore on the opposite side. The bridge which there joins the two banks seems to render this transformation more sensible to the eye, and marks the point where the lake ends, and the Adda again begins—soon to resume the name of the lake, where the banks receding afresh, allow the water to extend and spread itself in new gulfs and bays.
Bullies, oppressors and all men who do violence to the rights of others are guilty not only of their own crimes, but also of the corruption they bring into the hearts of their victims.
I would really like, in fact, to be born again in another two hundred years' time.
Certainly the heart has always something to tell about the future to those who listen to it. But what does the heart know? Scarce a little of what has already happened.
They settled the question, by deciding that misfortunes most commonly happen to us from our own misconduct or imprudence; but sometimes from causes independent of ourselves; that the most innocent and prudent conduct cannot always preserve us from them; and that, whether they arise from our own fault or not, trust in God softens them, and renders them useful in preparing us for a better life.
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