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The Betrothed Paperback – April 22, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-1613820148 ISBN-10: 1613820143

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 338 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Brown (April 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1613820143
  • ISBN-13: 978-1613820148
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #431,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, Italian (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About 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. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

The translation I read flowed like a delicious cool stream.
Stephen Muratore
The result is a great story placed against the background of a turbulent period in Italian history.
Robert Moore
I have read quite a lot of "classic" literature in my time, purely for enjoyment.
Nicholas Warren

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

154 of 157 people found the following review helpful By Robert Moore HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 6, 2003
Format: Paperback
Allesandro Manzoni's THE BETROTHED is rightfully considered one of the great novels in Italian history, if not the greatest. It is also one of the greatest historical novels ever written. Manzoni magnificently blends together a score of memorable characters with a string of vividly rendered historical events to provide an epic story of frustrated lovers in Italy during the Thirty Years Wars in the early 17th century when the state of Milan was occupied by the Spanish Habsburgs. The result is a great story placed against the background of a turbulent period in Italian history. The choice of that period of time is fascinating in itself. Instead of dealing with one of the more glorious periods of Italian history, such as the 15th or 16th centuries, Manzoni chose the relatively undistinguished 17th, during a time when much of Italy suffered under foreign rule, while many of the other city states were in a period of decline.
Few novels that I know deal with historical topics as magnificently as this one. One has to go to a writer like Tolstoy to find scenes as memorable as the tremendous scene in the Lazaretto in which Fra Cristoforo admonishes Renzo for his desire for revenge, with thousands of people dying of the plague surrounding them. Nearly as powerful is Manzoni's masterful depiction of the bread riots in Milan or the way he describes the progress of the German army in its passage through the region on its way to Mantua. Although one hardly reads the novel for the history lessons it provides, one learns an unusually large amount.
I am a bit perplexed as the criticism that the novel contains too much in the way of Christian redemption in the latter part of the novel. Of course it does.
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69 of 70 people found the following review helpful By PazzoPerAmore on August 4, 1999
Format: Paperback
Twenty years ago I went through a graduate program in Comparative Literature and read literally thousands of novels, plays, poems, etc. Of all that I read then, The Betrothed (I Promessi Sposi) is one of the few works that stand out. Scott, Hugo, and other novelists were familiar, but Manzoni was a new name to me then. He has become a favorite companion in the ensuing years. I am currently reading this novel for the 7th or 8th time (lost count). Written with compassion and humor, Manzoni offers an enthralling story of a peasant couple swept up in the political, social and religious turmoil of early 17th century Italy. There are many subplots involving characters of every rank and station, all vividly portrayed. What brings me back to this novel repeatedly are: 1) the author's masterful handling of plot--everything fits and flows (super)naturally; and 2) his ability to capture the beauty, wonder and horror of life in eloquent and moving prose. It is a mystery why this novel is not better known in the U.S.
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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 8, 1999
Format: Paperback
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!
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56 of 62 people found the following review helpful By el errabundo on October 26, 2010
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This book is a wierd mutation that was allowed to escape from a robot-publisher warehouse when it should have been thrown back into the pulp mill instead. All copies should be rounded up and re-sold as kindling.
To begin with, the subtitle - "a new translation" - is misleading. This translation dates back to the mid-1800's; there exist at least two competent English-language translations from the mid and late 20th century (Colquhoun and Penman, respectively). What's more, this volume omits a sizeable part of the book and, oddly enough, begins at chapter 19! (The publishing company itself offers a disingenuous sort of apology for any possible "typos" or misspellings in the text, explaining that these are due to the fact that the plates for the printers were produced by photocopy in an automated process wherein robots turn the pages for the scanner, but fails to account for the fact that the first third of the book was left out!)
It is bizarre that Amazon should continue to market this hilarious contrivance while representing it as Manzoni's much honored book.
- g.ramos
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