The Manzoni Family

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Winner of the Bagutta Prize, The Manzoni Family set in ducal Italy and post-revolutionary France, captures the story of Alessandro Manzoni—celebrated Milanese nobleman, man of letters, and author of the masterpiece of nineteenth-century Italian literature, I promessi sposi (The Betrothed)—and the women of his life.

The dynastic tale begins with the matriarchal figure of Giulia, the mother whom the young Alessandro Manzoni found in Paris after she had abandoned him as an infant. Following her, there is Enrichetta, the woman he and his mother chose to be his wife, and the many children she had by him until her death; literary friends from the beau monde in Italy and Paris; and Alessandro’s second wife, Teresa, and her children.

Against the background of Napoleonic occupation, the reestablishment of Austrian hegemony, and the stirrings of the revolutionary urge for unification and independence, Ginzburg gracefully weaves the story of the Manzoni dynasty, a family that seems to grow autonomously around the life of the writer, effortlessly incorporating the epic tumult and emotion of the age. Ginzburg explores this fascinating true story and celebrated author with the elegance that has assured her rightful place among history’s acclaimed literary titans.

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