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Day 18

The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni

Chapter 12

March 10, 2023 by Michael F. Moore

“The particular circumstances I am describing here were like the sudden spike of a chronic illness.”

Foreign occupation as a “chronic illness.” If you haven’t already, now would be a good time to read the historical background I provide on pages 659-660.

A short lesson in economics to introduce the bread riots:

“Ferrer saw—and who would not?—that a fair price for bread is a very desirable thing. He thought—and this was his mistake—that all it would require was an order from him. He set the bread meta (as they called the tariff on foodstuffs) at a price that would have been fair if the average price for grain had been thirty-three liras a bushel, when in reality it sold for as much as eighty.”

Manzoni clearly knows the English economists and their theories: Adam Smith, Jeremy Bentham, and Thomas Malthus. This novel really is encyclopedic.

The battlefield that Manzoni depicts is not in Casale, but on the streets of Milan; not between soldiers, but between citizens.

“At the sight of the spoils, the conquering army dropped all plans for a gory revenge. They raided the pantries and looted the bread.”

In the midst of the turmoil, a comment on language:

“On the street called the Corsia de’ Servi, there used to be, and still is, a bakery whose name has remained the same. In the Tuscan dialect, its name would be Il Forno delle Grucce (the Crutches Bakery), but in Milanese, it consists of words that are so bizarre, so hard to pronounce, and so barbaric, that the Italian alphabet can barely approximate the sound: El prestin di scanse.”

Piazza de’ Mercanti and the Cordusio are still there today, just off Piazza Duomo. I’d love to do a walking tour of Renzo’s Milan.

Daily Reading

A Preview

A Preview

Day 1

Introduction & Chapter 1 (through pg. 13: "were still around.")

Day 2

Chapter 1 (to end)

Day 3

Chapter 2

Day 4

Chapter 3

Day 5

Chapter 4

Day 6

Chapter 5

Day 7

Chapter 6

Day 8

Chapter 7 (through p.108: “respective ranks.”)

Day 9

Chapter 7 (to end)

Day 10

Chapter 8 (through p.130: “the others filed behind him.”)

Day 11

Chapter 8 (to end)

Day 12

Chapter 9 (through p.151: “are also quite capable.”)

Day 13

Chapter 9 (to end)

Day 14

Chapter 10 (through p.174: “her closest relatives.”)

Day 15

Chapter 10 (to end)

Day 16

Chapter 11 (through p.193: “keep track of it.")

Day 17

Chapter 11 (to end)

Day 18

Chapter 12

Day 19

Chapter 13

Day 20

Chapter 14

Day 21

Chapter 15

Day 22

Chapter 16

Day 23

Chapter 17

Day 24

Chapter 18

Day 25

Chapter 19

Day 26

Chapter 20

Day 27

Chapter 21

Day 28

Chapter 22

Day 29

Chapter 23

Day 30

Chapter 24 (through p.396: “as soon as you’re ready.”)

Day 31

Chapter 24 (to end)

Day 32

Chapter 25

Day 33

Chapter 26

Day 34

Chapter 27

Day 35

Chapter 28 (through p.467: “their hands from hunger.”)

Day 36

Chapter 28 (to end)

Day 37

Chapter 29

Day 38

Chapter 30

Day 39

Chapter 31

Day 40

Chapter 32 (through p.534: “purpose of the conflict.”)

Day 41

Chapter 32 (to end)

Day 42

Chapter 33 (through p.554: “treatise on political economy.”)

Day 43

Chapter 33 (to end)

Day 44

Chapter 34 (through p.574: “the living were left.”)

Day 45

Chapter 34 (to end)

Day 46

Chapter 35

Day 47

Chapter 36

Day 48

Chapter 37

Day 49

Chapter 38

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