Cuore is the Huckleberry Finn of Italy, the most read classic in the country. Presented in the form of a diary, its subject is a young boy's life in Turin following Unification in 1870. The narrator, Enrico, writes vividly of school life and the bustling city of vegetable-sellers, chimney sweeps, and carpenters all around him.
Published in 1886, Cuore was a huge success and within a few months, about forty editions had been printed. The story deals with such as solidarity, honesty, goodness and fraternity. It also represents a fragmented Italy divided along social class lines. It is a humorous book, full of adventure, wonder, and fantastical events.
Cuore has been adapted into just about every conceivable medium-film, television, radio, theater, and even comic books. It is the text for courses from University College of London to Harvard and is even a cult classic in Japan in its incarnation as an anime film. From Henry Miller, who wrote a glowing monograph on the book, to world-famous tenor Andrea Bocelli, who wrote a song about it, this simple tale of childhood has inspired all kinds of people and continues to do so today.
Edmondo de Amicis was born in Piedmont in 1846, at a time when Italy lay dismembered. A soldier by profession, he spent much of his youth fighting for a united Italy. An admirer of the writer Alessandro Manzoni, who considered that Florentine should be the standard Italian language, he wrote only in Florentine Italian. With the huge success of Cuore he achieved his goal of having had-through his novel's central place on the school syllabus-a formative influence on the written language of modern Italy.