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Day 45

The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni

Chapter 34 (to end)

April 6, 2023 by Michael F. Moore

“Descending from one of those doorways and moving toward the convoy came a woman whose appearance suggested a youth that was advanced but not yet passed. She radiated a beauty that was shrouded and dimmed but not ruined by great emotion and fatal languor: the soft yet majestic beauty that runs in Lombard blood. Her gait was weary, but not unsteady. Her eyes were dry, but showed the sign of many tears. In her grief there was something peaceful and profound that attested to a soul fully aware of and alive to pain.”

Amid so much horror, Manzoni depicts one of the most heartbreaking scenes in the novel, which the Italians know as “The mother of Cecilia.”

During the pandemic I did a reading of this scene, for a wonderful online program “Tutti a Casa,” out of the NYU Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò. As I read you will see the 1922 silent film of the novel directed by Mario Bonnard.

“Off he ran, clenched fist in the air, knuckles ready for anyone that got in his way.”

Primo Levi wrote an essay about this episode, titled “Renzo’s fist,” arguing that,

“It is completely unnatural to run while holding one's fist in the air. It is hampering, even for a few steps: it results in a greater waste of time than would be needed to clench and raise the fist a second time.”

Says one fussy writer to another.

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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