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The Betrothed


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"ONE arm of Lake Como turns off to the south between two unbroken chains of mountains, which cut it up into a series of bays and inlets as the hills advance into the water and retreat again, until it quite suddenly grows much narrower and takes on the appea" Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Quatrième de couverture
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Amazon.com: HASH(0x9d7a3a68) étoiles sur 5 81 commentaires
175 internautes sur 178 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9d5077a4) étoiles sur 5 One of the very greatest historical novels ever written 6 février 2003
Par Robert Moore - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
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. As much as an historical novel, THE BETROTHED is a religious novel, in which Manzoni in his own way tries to justify the ways of God to men. If one compares the novel to the historical works of someone like Hugo or other French historical novelists, one will be struck by the sharp divergence in the depiction of the Church and the clergy. In France, an anti-clericalism characterizes many or most of the novels. Manzoni is much more balanced. Some of his religious figures, such as the Nun of Moanza or the Lecco parish priest, are either ridiculous or treacherous, but by and large the great heroes in his book are either monks (Fra Cristoforo), clerics (the Cardinal), or converts (the Unnamed). The theme of the novel is a religious one: "All things work together for good for those that love God." Given the central theme of the novel, the religious themes are not an unwanted accretion, added on arbitrarily by an author otherwise summoning up a tremendous yarn, but integral to the novel as a whole. To dampen or eliminate the religious themes would have been to make it into another novel entirely.
Most of all, THE BETROTHED is just a flat out great story. Separated lovers, devious villains, mysterious figures: who wouldn't fall for all this? Manzoni is a masterful storyteller, and frequently one is left with a powerful impatience to know what is going to happen next. Anyone looking for a great novel could hardly hope to do better than this great masterpiece.
80 internautes sur 81 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9d5077f8) étoiles sur 5 A Masterpiece of Historical Fiction 5 août 1999
Par PazzoPerAmore - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
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.
47 internautes sur 49 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9d507c30) étoiles sur 5 Simply great 9 août 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
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!
74 internautes sur 84 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9d507fe4) étoiles sur 5 why is Amazon still selling this? 27 octobre 2010
Par el errabundo - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
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
20 internautes sur 20 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9d507ccc) étoiles sur 5 The Betrothed: a great story and great history 21 janvier 2006
Par Stephen Muratore - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Don't let the fact that The Betrothed has been labeled a classic, nor its length, stop you from picking it up. It's a darn good read, with very believable characters: good, evil, and mixed. The narrator is lucid, witty, and erudite: a joy to spend time with. The translation I read flowed like a delicious cool stream. The story has both intimate moments and scenes of baroque insanity that seem somehow the progeny of the Barber of Seville and the Keystone Cops.

The third quarter of the book leaves the story entirely to follow the development of the second plague in Milan from the famine years when it began to its demise--leaving 2/3rds of the population dead. Though this is quite a large detour, the descriptions of the world reduced to this hell and the understanding Manzoni brings to bear on it, are no less engrossing than the story, which he does tie in and resolve before the end of the book. The courage and faith of some of the characters burns all the more brightly when plunged into the darkness of the pestilence. Some are transformed for the good. Others, just hardened.

It's too bad Manzoni wasn't as prolific as Dickens. He wrote a second novel, only, which apparently has been published very rarely since the time of its writing. So, The Betrothed is our one chance to be exposed to his great mind and heart. Don't miss it.
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