Day 10The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni
Chapter 8 (through p.130: “the others filed behind him.”)
March 2, 2023 by Michael F. Moore
The Italians refer to this episode as “La notte degli imbrogli”—The night of [question mark]. I struggled to find an equivalent for “imbroglio,” which in Italian refers to a tangled mess. The English “imbroglio” is too cute for the series of mishaps and misunderstandings that occur on this night. The best I could come up with is “The Night of Trials and Tribulations,” to capture its rocking energy.
Page 121. How I love the way Agnese entices Perpetua away from the rectory. “‘I’m coming from… and she named a nearby village. ‘And wouldn’t you know it,’ she continued, ‘I stayed longer than I expected, all on your account.’” And Perpetua’s, “Wouldn’t you know it! Oh, that liar! That big fat liar! Tell me her name!” Agnese delivers the coup de grace with: “Please don’t ask. I don’t want to cause any trouble.” I think she deserves her own novel. To translate this conversation, I remembered how my aunts used to talk, the exclamations and the laughter, the way they drew everyone into a story.
Page 123. Quite remarkable, and damning: Don Abbondio counting out the money that Tonio owes him.
The Bergamo accent is quite distinct, and is sometimes described as someone speaking through a mouthful of hot polenta.