Alessandro ManzoniManzoni
Creditsversione italiana
bullet The author

Alessandro Manzoni inaugurated (along with Leopardi) the arrival of modern Italian literature, which developed out of the historic transformations that lead to the end of Europe’s Ancien Régime, namely, the profound economic changes resulting from the industrial revolution, the political changes ushered in by the French revolution, and the radical innovations in philosophical thought and literary-artistic sensibilities deriving from the far-reaching cultural phenomena of the Enlightenment and Romanticism. This new turn in European history and culture is deeply embedded in Manzoni’s writings. This is true especially of his masterpiece, I Promessi Sposi, one of Italy’s most popular books, familiar to generations of readers of all social classes who have all experienced the story of Renzo and Lucia in their own way, learning standard Italian from the pages of Manzoni’s novel.

Biographical pathway bullet Biographical pathway

This illustrates the phases in a long and secluded life tormented by neurosis and an obsession with rewriting and formally perfecting his works. Manzoni’s life may well have differed from the typically adventurous romantic biography, but it was closely bound up with the most important European intellectuals and writers of the time as well as with the period’s centres of culture, including Paris, Milan and Florence.

Textual pathway bullet Textual pathway

Manzoni experimented successfully with many genres and forms: he was a lyric poet, tragedian and novelist, but also a history writer, linguist, moral philosopher, and a theorist of art and literature. This pathway illustrates these multiple facets of his cultural output, offering new perspectives on his novel, whose apparent simplicity and clarity belie a number of obscure and troubled areas that are imbued with scepticism and “relativism”.

Thematic pathway bullet Thematic pathway

This pathway offers several themes which are fundamental to Manzoni and his work, such as his insatiable desire for truth and his quest for the artistic means to express it, and his attempt to reconcile, in both philosophical reflection and literary creation, faith with reason, and divine Providence with the terrible history of humankind. Also examined are the novel’s central themes, the author’s relationship with writers who were influential on his work, general aspects of early nineteenth century Italy, and the people and places dear to the gran Lombardo.

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Biographical pathway - Textual pathway - Thematic pathway
Home "Pathways through Literature" - Dante Alighieri - Francesco Petrarca - Giovanni Boccaccio - Baldassarre Castiglione
Ludovico Ariosto - Torquato Tasso - Ugo Foscolo - Alessandro Manzoni - Giacomo Leopardi

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