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Day 31

The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni

Chapter 24 (to end)

March 23, 2023 by Michael F. Moore

In the second half of this chapter, we encounter the happy family returning from the mass celebrated by the Cardinal Archbishop. The tailor is a singular character, literate, but his reading list consists solely of popular fare, such as chivalric romances and the highly fictionalized lives of the saints. He does feel somewhat superior to his fellow villagers:

“If you asked them to repeat exactly what [the Cardinal Archbishop] said, they wouldn’t be able to fish out a word. But they have the feeling inside.”

In his quest for grandiloquence, however, the best he can come up with when he speaks with Borromeo is, “Think nothing of it!

Don Abbondio hopes to deter Agnese from reporting his behavior to Borromeo.

“But Agnese, well aware that the good man was only pursuing his own interests, left him standing there without making any promises, and indeed without deciding anything, for she had more important matters on her mind.”

Another “meta” moment:

“As the reader knows all too well, it was a story that no one person knew in its entirety.”

Manzoni is commenting not only on his fiction, but also on the writing of history, as we shall see later.

“We were also partly to blame.”

Lucia is an enigmatic character, utterly sincere in her faith, but an easy target for the less righteous. Perpetua called her a “Madonnina infilzata,” which I translated as a “goody-two-shoes.” In Italy, one tradition sees her as a model for Italian womanhood, never voicing her opinions but always steering her husband in the right direction. I see her more in the lineage of Dante’s Beatrice or Petrarch’s Laura, who were more symbols incarnate than actual characters.

Lucia has also been the object of frequent parody on Italian television, most famously in the skits of “Il trio.”

Page 409. The Nameless One takes his leave. In the paragraph beginning on this page, Manzoni shifts into a poetic register (remember that he was a poet before he became a novelist), with the repeated refrain of “Yet he was tired,” “Yet he was tired.” It’s almost a lullaby, singing us to sleep with the reformed man.

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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