The Betrothed Paperback
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Top Customer Reviews
be the greatest Italian novel of all time. I read it aloud
to my 9-year-old daughter and we were both enthralled. It is
set in the environs of Milan in the early 17th century (it
was written in the 18th century). The framing story concerns
young lovers whose marriage is thwarted by a local nobelman/
petty tyrant in order to win a bet. Subordinate stories
range from political, economic and biographical analyses of the times to
a vivid, eye-opening description of a plague outbreak and the official denial
that exacerbated it. Penman's English translation is superb.
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.Read more ›
I would say this kind of book should be required reading in high school, but it's to good for that.
Since religion is a very emotional issue for me, I was tempted to give the book a three or two rating. In fairness, it deserves at least the four I gave it. It describes the period beautifully and gives perfect exemplars for many different modes of behavior.
Here are my criticisms. If you haven't read the story, these will spoil it, so have a care. I have three: First, the conversion of the master villian struck me as horrendously done. He is touched by the innocent pleading and prayers of his victim. Personally, I find it laughable that a man of such black reputation has never encountered similar circumstances before. Why should this person's naive pleas for clemency be any different? Second, the conversion of the Unnamed can be compared to Darth Vader's salvation at the end of the film Return of the Jedi. Everyone is ecstatic over the redemption of this evil figure, only because of his power and charisma. Just as no one cared for the other 100,000 troops that died on the Death Star, the bishop who visits the new convert spares a paltry few words for all of his underlings and their spiritual welfare. The bishop does not visit them. The people are not thankful when they convert. We are thrilled when an archvillian switches allegiances, but like Manzoni, we couldn't care less about the salvation of any of his lesser followers. This supposed Christian triumph is in fact only an illustration of human fascination with power.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
A classic. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in Italian culture, literature and history. I thoroughly enjoyed it.Published 16 months ago by Tom Wheatley
this book was part of my reading for letterature in Italy, I've enjoyed reading it again in English.......it's part of my country history. silvana woodPublished on Dec 21 2013 by silvana wood
Anyone who finds the christian love and redemptio to be offesnive needs to have their head examined.Published on Feb. 22 2004
hello. I'm an advanced dilusionary scitzophrenic padantic twelve year-old, with involuntary narccassitc rage who makes aged people feel stupid. Just kidding. Read morePublished on July 13 2002
The start of the book was a little slow, however,the author quickly caught my attention with his intimate detailing of each character, as well as their interactions with one... Read morePublished on Jan. 10 2001 by Richard
I recently read this book upon the recommendation of my Italian teacher. I agree with most of the reviews here that it is a masterpiece of sorts. Read morePublished on March 14 2000 by John Cardenas
When I was at high school I had to study this book and I nearly came to hate it. Some year after I returned again to its pages and I was stunned in realizing what a masterpiece it... Read morePublished on Feb. 19 2000 by Arnaldo Borsa
During the "Liceo" period of study, italian students are FORCED to read this book and to consider it a masterpiece not only of italian but even mondial literature. Read morePublished on Dec 18 1999 by Enrico Pirani