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Edmondo Mario Alberto De Amicis (1846–1908)

Author of Heart: A School-Boy's Journal

129+ Works 1,557 Members 38 Reviews 1 Favorited

About the Author

Image credit: Source: "Bibliothek des allgemeinen und
praktischen Wissens. Bd. 5" (1905)

Works by Edmondo Mario Alberto De Amicis

Heart: A School-Boy's Journal (1886) 939 copies, 21 reviews
Constantinople (1877) 120 copies, 1 review
Love and Gymnastics (1981) 97 copies, 5 reviews
Holland and Its People (1879) 38 copies, 1 review
Morocco (1879) 28 copies
Dagli Appennini alle Ande (1977) 26 copies
Spain and the Spaniards (1885) 22 copies
Studies of Paris (1977) 17 copies
Memories of London (2014) 16 copies
Opere scelte (1996) 15 copies
On Blue Water (1991) 13 copies, 1 review
L'idioma gentile (2006) 13 copies
Il re de bambole (1980) 6 copies, 1 review
La carrozza di tutti (2008) 5 copies
Nhung Tam Long Cao Ca (2014) 5 copies
Gli Azzurri e i Rossi (2005) 4 copies
Novelle 4 copies
La maestrina degli operai (2008) 4 copies
Holland, v. 1 (2011) 3 copies
Pagine sparse (1914) 3 copies
Novelas cortas 3 copies, 2 reviews
Cinematografo cerebrale (1995) 2 copies
En el Océano 2 copies, 2 reviews
Roma capitale (1995) 2 copies
Primo maggio 2 copies
Torino 1880 (1991) 2 copies
Em Alto Mar (2017) 2 copies
Nel giardino della follia (1994) 2 copies
Coração 2 copies
Gli Amici 2 copies
Poesie 2 copies
Ricordi d'un viaggio in Sicilia (1999) 2 copies, 1 review
Gli amici 2 copies
Carmela (1993) 1 copy
Il vino 1 copy
COCUK KALBI 1 copy, 1 review
Corazón (1976) 1 copy
Cocuk Kalbi 1 copy
Corazon 1 copy
İstanbul 1 copy
Carigrad (2020) 1 copy
Corazón 94/23I 1 copy, 1 review
Altri Tempi [1952 film] (2005) — Writer — 1 copy
La lettera anonima (1991) 1 copy
Sydän 1 copy
Cuore (2017) 1 copy
Le cinéma mental (2002) 1 copy
Sirds : [romāns] (1993) 1 copy
Il libro Cuore (2007) 1 copy
Los amigos de colegio (1980) 1 copy
Širdis: [romanas] (2013) 1 copy
Cuore 1 copy

Associated Works


Common Knowledge

Canonical name
De Amicis, Edmondo Mario Alberto
Legal name
De Amicis, Edmondo Mario Alberto
Other names
De Amicis, Edmondo Mario Alberto
Date of death
Burial location
Cimitero Monumentale di Torino, Italy
Oneglia, Piedmont-Sardinia
Place of death
Bordighera, Italy
Places of residence
Modena, Italy
Military Academy of Modena
travel writer
children's writer
army officer
short story writer (show all 7)
De Amicis, Ugo (son)
Socio dell'Accademia della Crusca
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Awards and honors
Cittadinanza onoraria di Pinerolo (1884)
Short biography
Edmundo de Amicis (Oneglia, Italia, 21 de octubre de 1846 - Bordighera, Italia, 11 de marzo de 1908) era un escritor italiano, novelista y autor de libros de viajes.

Tuvo su primer contacto con la literatura en Cuneo. Estudió en un liceo de Turín. Entró a los 16 en la Academia Militar de Módena, donde se recibió de oficial.

Resultó ser un gran patriota (participó de la batalla de Custoza, 1866), incansable viajero y autor de muchas obras. Su obra se caracteriza por una intrincada mezcla de romanticismo y realismo con un propósito altamente ético en el sentido de orientar al lector siempre hacia el bien.

Marruecos (1876), España (1873), Holanda (1874), son algunos de los numerosos libros de viajes que alcanzaron también un gran éxito por la facilidad demostrada por el autor para describir rápidamente los lugares y costumbres que se ofrecen ante su vista. Posteriormente, escribió su exitosísima novela Los amigos (Gli amici, 1883). Otro importante suceso de su vida que tuvo gran peso sobre la misma fue su unión al Partido Socialista, en cuyo periódico Il Grido del Popolo publicó artículos que luego reunió en Cuestión social (Questione sociale, 1894); para él dio muchas conferencias. En Novela de un maestro (1890), su mirada es amarga y desencantada, algo raro en su habitual estilo. En L'idioma gentile (1905), una apología de la lengua italiana, demuestra el gran amor que Edmundo no sólo tenía a su patria, sino también a las tradiciones y cultura de la misma.

Otra obra, tal vez la mejor conocida es Corazón (Cuore) publicada en 1886. Resulta interesante aclarar, que la obra está construida para provocar la emoción y las lágrimas del joven lector. Traducida a múltiples idiomas y llevada al cine, la televisión y a tiras cómicas numerosas veces a través de los años desde su publicación original (entre otras, la serie japonesa de dibujos animados Marco, de los Apeninos a los Andes), inspirada en la narración interpolada en este libro denominada De los Apeninos a los Andes. Otro interesante elemento es que el libro, está presentado como el diario de un niño, Enrique, a través de su año escolar como alumno de tercer grado en una escuela municipal de Turín.



The remarkable Italian novel Cuore (that's the Italian word for "Heart") was published in 1886, shortly after the Italian unification, and it soon achieved enormous popularity in Italy and abroad and became a classic of children’s literature. In less than three months 41 editions were needed in Italy and it was immediately translated to 18 languages and published throughout Europe. By 1923 it had been translated all over the world and had surpassed the at the time extraordinary figure of a million copies.

The book, inspired by the author’s two sons, is an imaginary diary written by Enrico Bottini, a 9-year-old schoolboy in the third form of an elementary school in Turin, in the north of Italy. As the preface puts it:

This book is specially dedicated to the boys of the elementary schools between the ages of nine and thirteen years, and might be entitled: “The Story of a Scholastic Year written by a Pupil of the Third Class of an Italian Municipal School.” In saying written by a pupil of the third class, I do not mean to say that it was written by him exactly as it is printed. He noted day by day in a copy-book, as well as he knew how, what he had seen, felt, thought in the school and outside the school; his father at the end of the year wrote these pages on those notes, taking care not to alter the thought, and preserving, when it was possible, the words of his son. Four years later the boy, being then in the lyceum, added something of his own, drawing on his memories, still fresh, of persons and of things.

Generations of Italian children were raised with this book, where it was required reading at schools. Because of its patriotic and nationalistic values, it remained popular even during the Fascist regime. At the same time, because of its emphasis on social issues such as poverty (the author would later join the Italian Socialist Party) the book was also very influential in the countries of the Eastern bloc in Europe, and later became also popular in China and other Asian countries, and in Latin America.

De Amicis’ aim was to teach moral and civic values, such as kindness, compassion, humility, respect, love for family and friends, solidarity between social classes, work ethic and patriotism. He used very moving plots and language: this book is a tear-fest if you are susceptible to sentimentality, sometimes tears of sadness but often because of feel-good emotion. If you don’t like sentimentality you are not going to like the book. It is utterly and unashamedly sentimental, hence its title, and also didactic. The book is easy to mock now, being too sentimental, preachy, utopic and idealistic for modern sensitivities, depicting a world where there is clear right and wrong instead of moral complexity, but if you can see it in its context and don’t mind that it’s old-fashioned you may find it very readable, moving and charming. As someone said in a Goodreads review: “a child who has read this book could not become a bad person”.

In time, the book also faced criticism as some of its values were contested, starting with Umberto Eco’s famous “In Praise of Franti” in 1968 (Franti is the “bad boy” in Enrico’s class, the only one whose heart the teacher Perboni cannot reach, and who for Eco is the only one who rejects the rhetoric and classism of bourgeoisie society).

Another highlight are the stories that Enrico’s teacher tells the boys, one every month, each of them about a boy who is in some way a role model. Some of those have become famous on their own as short stories or novellas, one of them perhaps even more popular than the whole book. I’m talking about "From the Apennines to the Andes," the story of Marco, a poor Italian boy whose mother has to emigrate to Argentina to be able to support her family. But after she writes to her family that she is sick, her letters stop coming. So Marco decides to go to Argentina himself to look for her. He manages to cross the ocean and travels across Argentina to find her, having many adventures during his journey and meeting some wonderful people. A good number of movies, animated series and TV shows have been made about that story.

To give you a taste of Cuore, here’s a short passage where a new boy of immigrant parents comes to the school. The boy is from the far-away south of Italy. He has a different accent, wears different clothes and even looks different from the other boys, with brown skin and very dark hair. Being different, and human nature being what is it, the boy would normally be a target of mockery from the other boys. However, this is how the teacher introduces him to his new schoolmates:

(…) The director went away, after speaking a few words in the master’s ear, leaving beside the latter the boy, who glanced about with his big black eyes as though frightened.

The master took him by the hand, and said to the class: “You ought to be glad. Today there enters our school a little Italian born in Reggio, in Calabria, more than five hundred miles from here. Love your brother who has come from so far away. He was born in a glorious land, which has given illustrious men to Italy, and which now furnishes her with stout laborers and brave soldiers; in one of the most beautiful lands of our country, where there are great forests, and great mountains, inhabited by people full of talent and courage. Treat him well, so that he shall not perceive that he is far away from the city in which he was born; make him see that an Italian boy, in whatever Italian school he sets his foot, will find brothers there.” So saying, he rose and pointed out on the wall map of Italy the spot where lay Reggio, in Calabria.

Then the teacher calls on a boy, who is one of the leaders of the group, to welcome him in the name of the class. The boy does so and both boys shake their hands and embrace, while the others applaud:

(…) All clapped their hands. “Silence!” cried the master; “don’t clap your hands in school!” But it was evident that he was pleased. And the Calabrian was pleased also. The master assigned him a place, and accompanied him to the bench. Then he said again:—

“Bear well in mind what I have said to you. In order that this case might occur, that a Calabrian boy should be as though in his own house at Turin, and that a boy from Turin should be at home in Calabria, our country fought for fifty years, and thirty thousand Italians died. You must all respect and love each other; but any one of you who should give offence to this comrade, because he was not born in our province, would render himself unworthy of ever again raising his eyes from the earth when he passes the tricolored flag.”

Hardly was the Calabrian seated in his place, when his neighbors presented him with pens and a print; and another boy, from the last bench, sent him a Swiss postage-stamp.

In another passage, when Enrico is reluctant about going to school because he finds it boring, this is part of the pep talk his father gives him:

(…) Reflect in the morning, when you set out, that at that very moment, in your own city, thirty thousand other boys are going like yourself, to shut themselves up in a room for three hours and study. Think of the innumerable boys who, at nearly this precise hour, are going to school in all countries. Behold them with your imagination, going, going, through the lanes of quiet villages; through the streets of the noisy towns, along the shores of rivers and lakes; here beneath a burning sun; there amid fogs; in boats, in countries which are intersected with canals; on horseback on the far-reaching plains; in sledges over the snow; through valleys and over hills; across forests and torrents, over the solitary paths of mountains; alone, in couples, in groups, in long files, all with their books under their arms, clad in a thousand ways, speaking a thousand tongues. From the most remote schools in Russia, almost lost in the ice, to the furthermost schools of Arabia, shaded by palm-trees, millions and millions, all going to learn the same things, in a hundred varied forms. Imagine this vast, vast throng of boys of a hundred races, this immense movement of which you form a part, and think, if this movement were to cease, humanity would fall back into barbarism; this movement is the progress, the hope, the glory of the world. Courage, then, little soldier of the immense army. Your books are your arms, your class is your squadron, the field of battle is the whole earth, and the victory is human civilization. Be not a cowardly soldier, my Enrico.

In other entry, Enrico is sent to the girls’ school to take a copy of one of his teacher’s stories, since one of the schoolmistresses there had asked for it. He witnesses this incident there:

Opposite the door of the school, on the other side of the street, stood a very small chimney-sweep, his face entirely black, with his sack and scraper, with one arm resting against the wall, and his head supported on his arm, weeping copiously and sobbing. Two or three of the girls of the second grade approached him and said, “What is the matter, that you weep like this?” But he made no reply, and went on crying.

“Come, tell us what is the matter with you and why you are crying,” the girls repeated. And then he raised his face from his arm,—a baby face,—and said through his tears that he had been to several houses to sweep the chimneys, and had earned thirty soldi, and that he had lost them, that they had slipped through a hole in his pocket,—and he showed the hole,—and he did not dare to return home without the money.

“The master will beat me,” he said, sobbing; and again dropped his head upon his arm, like one in despair. The children stood and stared at him very seriously. In the meantime, other girls, large and small, poor girls and girls of the upper classes, with their portfolios under their arms, had come up; and one large girl, who had a blue feather in her hat, pulled two soldi from her pocket, and said:—

“I have only two soldi; let us make a collection.”

“I have two soldi, also,” said another girl, dressed in red; “we shall certainly find thirty soldi among the whole of us”; and then they began to call out:—

“Amalia! Luigia! Annina!—A soldo. Who has any soldi? Bring your soldi here!”

Several had soldi to buy flowers or copy-books, and they brought them; some of the smaller girls gave centesimi; the one with the blue feather collected all, and counted them in a loud voice:—
“Eight, ten, fifteen!” But more was needed. Then one larger than any of them, who seemed to be an assistant mistress, made her appearance, and gave half a lira; and all made much of her. Five soldi were still lacking.

“The girls of the fourth class are coming; they will have it,” said one girl. The members of the fourth class came, and the soldi showered down. All hurried forward eagerly; and it was beautiful to see that poor chimney-sweep in the midst of all those many-colored dresses, of all that whirl of feathers, ribbons, and curls. The thirty soldi were already obtained, and more kept pouring in; and the very smallest who had no money made their way among the big girls, and offered their bunches of flowers, for the sake of giving something. All at once the portress made her appearance, screaming:—“The Signora Directress!” The girls made their escape in all directions, like a flock of sparrows; and then the little chimney-sweep was visible, alone, in the middle of the street, wiping his eyes in wonder, with his hands full of money, and the button-holes of his jacket, his pockets, his hat, were full of flowers; and there were even flowers on the ground at his feet.

As I said, it is old fashioned in its values (how could it not be?), and it might be too heavy-handed for modern audiences. Patriotism, particularly, is taken further than I would like. But it is also readable, sincere and earnest, with many moving incidents.

If anyone is curious, the book can be downloaded for free, as it is long out of copyright. This is the English translation at Project Gutenberg:

… (more)
jcm790 | 20 other reviews | May 26, 2024 |
AnkaraLibrary | Feb 29, 2024 |
Um livro que encantou gerações e gerações no mundo inteiro.Este clássico da literatura italiana, publicado pela primeira vez em 1886, proporciona uma viagem no tempo para conhecer um pouco da vida do povo e, especialmente, das crianças da Itália no século XIX. O livro é uma espécie de diário de um estudante, escrito ao longo de um ano letivo em uma escola primária, que permite mergulhar na cultura desse país e conhecer hábitos, valores e comportamentos das pessoas no século XIX.Uma leitura extremamente enriquecedora e comovente, que provocará no leitor reflexões sobre as semelhanças e diferenças nas relações e nos valores humanos, o que melhorou, o que ficou pior, o que deveria ser feito para alcançar “o melhor dos dois mundos”... Enfim, uma leitura que, feita de coração aberto e sem perder de vista a época em que foi escrita, certamente vai emocionar.… (more)
editora_sesimg | 20 other reviews | Jan 9, 2024 |
Colección Estrella. Cuarta edición
museosanalberto | Dec 1, 2023 |



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