In the early 19th century, there was still controversy as to what form the standard literary language of Italy should take. Chapters 1—8: Flight from the village[ edit ] A view of the Lake Como , chapter 1, engraving by Francesco Gonin — Renzo and Lucia, a couple living in a village in Lombardy , near Lecco , on Lake Como , are planning to wed on 8 November The parish priest, don Abbondio, is walking home on the eve of the wedding when he is accosted by two " bravi " thugs who warn him not to perform the marriage, because the local baron Don Rodrigo has forbidden it. An argument ensues and Renzo succeeds in extracting from the priest the name of Don Rodrigo. It turns out that Don Rodrigo has his eye on Lucia and that he had a bet about her with his cousin Count Attilio.
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Shelves: literature , italian-lit When I began this novel, I was not sure whether I would complete it. The reason: I began it in the wrong time, that is, when I had many other responsibilities. So it could never have served as a gap filler in the days.
Also, a thick volume would entail many days in such a tight schedule. I was sure to be discouraged. But as the book came in the package and as I began to read it I was immediately fascinated by the characters and the place described. I gave it a try and now I have completed the When I began this novel, I was not sure whether I would complete it.
I gave it a try and now I have completed the book and my responsibilities stare at me. This is considered to be an Italian Classic. And it is a Classic indeed. The blurb at the back of the novel states thus: "Two lovers must face tyrants, war, riots, plague and famine as they struggle to be together, in this teeming panorama of seventeenth-century Italian life - the original historical novel.
But it has said hardly anything. The reader will literally walk the paths in the district of Lecco and lanes in the city of Milan of the 17th century.
Reading through the events of famine, the war, the riot in Milan and especially the plague is equal to living through the events. When Renzo the main protagonist was running away I felt myself running away and when he felt indignant I felt myself indignant. When I saw through the eyes of Renzo the pathetic situation of plague in Milan, it repulsed me. If it was not for the search of Lucia I surely would have abandoned the city long time back. Another part that you cannot miss is: the farewell to the mountains that comes at the end of the first part of the novel.
The protagonists run from their village to escape a great danger and as they move from their place they take leave of their place. It will move you to tears. Powerful evocation is not all that made this novel great. This novel is also about wonderful character studies.
As and when situation required he also could exercise certain cunning faculty that he has in his possession. Lucia, his lover is just the opposite. She is innocent as dove and who has complete faith in the Providence. She sees God in every moment even when she finds herself in danger. She never compromises her Christian values for anything.
She is a saint. Don Abbondio is the cure of both Lucia and Renzo. But he does not marry them because he is frightened by the tyrant don Rodrigo who has an eye for Lucia. He is an epitome of a person who will put his own self before everything else.
If such attitude will result in much sufferings for the others, he is not worried. I can go on talking about other characters the nun in Monza, the Unnamed, the Cardinal Federigo Borremeo, Capuchin friar Christopher, etc. This novel is also typically Catholic. The seventeenth century Italy was Catholic and so it is not a surprise. But then, the fact that Italy also had produced Giovanni Boccaccio already in the 14th century stands to prove that there were opinions contrary to Catholic Church in Catholic Italy.
Manzoni here in this novel, however, stands as a staunch Catholic heralding the Catholic opinions. In fact, he also must have been very well versed in theology. The speeches given by Capuchin Friar Christopher and the sermon by another Capuchin at the end of the novel are excellent spiritual commentaries on many aspects forgiveness, faith in Providence, mercy of God, etc. There is a passage in which Cardinal Federigo reprimands Don Abbondio for not doing his priestly duty. The reprimand runs for two chapters.
In fact, they are wonderful source of spiritual inspiration for any Catholic priest. The novel contains two events of great conversions. They are moving descriptions and the way Manzoni narrates them by interpreting them as the act of Gods great mercy will edify a Christian reader. Besides the passage that contains reprimand of Cardinal Federigo, the conversion narratives were my favourite parts of the novel.
You read a novel and come out spiritually nourished and strengthened. Manzoni could do that to me. Last Aside: Pope Francis had asked the betrothed couple to read this novel in the weekly general audience in May That is a solid advice. In fact, it is a good book to gift to Christian couple already engaged or married or finding difficulty in marriage.
For the teaching is found in the novel in a scattered form.
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