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Day 19

The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni

Chapter 13

March 11, 2023 by Michael F. Moore

“Then, like a mad man, gritting his teeth and furrowing his brow, he extended his arms and pointed his fists, as if that would keep the door shut… Well, what exactly he did no one knows, since he was alone, and history can only guess. A practice, luckily, to which history is accustomed.”

Ha! A leap from fiction to nonfiction in a single sentence. Manzoni drawing attention both to the illusions of fiction and the deceptions of historians.

The angry mob…

“Those who form the mass and almost the material of the uprising are an accidental mix of people who tend toward one extreme or the other, by more or less indefinite gradations: a little excited, a little cunning, a little inclined toward a certain form of justice (in their understanding of the word), and a little eager to see something horrible happen.”

Shades of the French Reign of Terror? I can think of no writer before Manzoni who so precisely described the mob mentality.

The Grand Chancellor Ferrer, forced to mingle with the hoi polloi:

“Old Ferrer looked out of one window and then the other with a humble face, filled with joy and affection, a face that he had always reserved for the times he found himself in the presence of King Philip IV, but was now forced to expend on this occasion.”

Page 226. And who should fall for him but Renzo.

“And to the officer who came up to him to offer his own personal salute, he said, accompanying his words with a gesture of his right hand, “beso a usted las manos,” whose true meaning the officer understood. Namely, “Thanks for nothing!” In reply, he saluted again and shrugged his shoulders. This would have been the perfect moment to say, “Cedant arma togae”—“Let arms yield to the toga”—but erudite quotations were the last thing on Ferrer’s mind. His words would have fallen on deaf ears, anyway, since the officer did not understand Latin.”

Another instance, following earlier exchanges between Don Abbondio and Renzo, and Padre Cristoforo and Fra Fazio, of Latin being wielded to assert power and status. Not to mention the irony of that first sentence.

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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