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Day 35

The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni

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

March 27, 2023 by Michael F. Moore

Manzoni turns now to what he calls “a rough account of public events,” which will take us through the next few chapters. While our fictional characters may briefly disappear, he relates the historical circumstances shaping their lives in an equally compelling manner.

The masses and the government work in tandem, though in opposition, to continue an untenable situation:

“The masses had wanted to bring back the days of plenty through looting and arson. The government wanted to maintain them through the galleys and the strappado. These methods were complementary, but did they help achieve the goal?”

The “strappado” was a method of torture. The Italian word for galley, “galera,” can mean both jail and the galleys: during this period, convicts were still being sentenced to rowing on galleys.

The laws become more perverse:

“As the consequences of the decrees began to be felt, the authorities had to remedy each one, with a law that prohibited people from doing exactly what the previous law had encouraged.”

Manzoni blames the “mob” for the extremes of the French Revolution, to which he would later dedicate an (unfinished) volume:

“Allow me to observe in passing a singular coincidence. In a country and period closer to our own, during the most clamorous and remarkable period in modern history, recourse was made in similar circumstances to similar expedients (substantially the same, you might say—varying only by degree—and in almost the same order), despite it being a different era, with a growth of learning in Europe, and especially in that country. This was mainly because the mob, which had not received the benefit of that learning, was able to impose its judgment for so long and forcer la main, force the hand—as they say in that country—of the lawmakers.”

Page 461. The pitiable horde, “la deplorabile turba.”

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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