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The Betrothed

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  5,399 Ratings  ·  292 Reviews
Set in Lombardy during the Spanish occupation of the late 1620s, The Betrothed tells the story of two young lovers, Renzo and Lucia, prevented from marrying by the petty tyrant Don Rodrigo, who desires Lucia for himself. Forced to flee, they are then cruelly separated, and must face many dangers including plague, famine and imprisonment, and confront a variety of strange c ...more
Paperback, 720 pages
Published November 24th 1983 by Penguin Classics (first published 1840)
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Bill  Kerwin
Mar 04, 2009 Bill Kerwin rated it it was amazing

Manzoni's historical novel The Betrothed--although not much read today in the English-speaking world--is considered by many Italians to be the greatest novel written in their language. It is indeed a great novel. Manzoni, building on the simple romantic story of an engaged couple whose scheduled wedding is prevented by the designs of a lustful noble, creates a rich, many-shaded portrait of life in the vicinity of Milan in the early 17th Century, featuring war, famine, plague and riot, great crim
Jean-Paul Werner Walshaw-Sauter


(El Beso, 1859 Francesco Hayez)

"All high poetry is infinite; it is as the first acorn, which contained all oaks potentially."

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Power and politics, passion and pain, religion and redemption all set to the backdrop of the 30 Years' War: The Betrothed, first published in 1827 and definitively published in 1842, takes place in Lombardy between 1628 and 1630 under direct Spanish rule. Lucia Mondella and Lorenzo Tramaglino, two ordinary humble young people from an unnamed village on
Tea Jovanović
May 19, 2013 Tea Jovanović rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Prvo izdanje posle 50 godina otkako je poslednji put objavljena u Srbiji... Istorijski, ljubavni roman...
Lorenzo Berardi
This novel is hated by many generations of Italians.

Poor Alessandro Manzoni! He's not to blame for the bad reputation of his book. The moronic Italian educational system is the only guilt of the assassination of I Promessi Sposi in most of its readers.

Just consider this: in Italy we study this novel at primary school, at secondary school and at high school. Every single time restarting from its beginning. Therefore it's pretty obvious that I Promessi Sposi becomes one of the worst nightmares of
Dhanaraj Rajan
Jul 05, 2016 Dhanaraj Rajan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I began this novel, I was not sure whether I would complete it. The reason: I began it in the wrong time, that is, when I had many other responsibilities. So it could never have served as a gap filler in the days. Also, a thick volume would entail many days in such a tight schedule. I was sure to be discouraged. But as the book came in the package and as I began to read it I was immediately fascinated by the characters and the place described. I gave it a try and now I have completed the bo ...more
Το Άσχημο
Αυτό το βιβλίο λοιπόν πόσες φορές μου ήρθε να το πετάξω να πάει στο καλό. Πώς το τυπώσανε έτσι δεν μπορώ να καταλάβω, με εξώφυλλα πιο λεπτά κι από το χαρτονάκι που δένουν οι μαθητές κι οι σπουδαστές τις εργασίες τους,με το σπιράλ. Είναι και βαρύ, ως να το τελειώσω έγινε όλο μια μάζα τσαλακωμένη, χάνοντας το σχήμα του. Κι από την άλλη το ίδιο το κείμενο. Ήθελα να ήξερα αυτός ο Μαντσόνι σε χασαπόκολλα έγραψε το έργο του; Τόσο μεγάλες παράγραφοι που να πιάνουν συχνά παραπάνω από μια σελίδα, κι όλο ...more
May 22, 2008 Elena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-italian
An all-time masterpiece of Italian literature. We Italians all study it at school and of course, get bored to tears by it, unless we find some time to actually read and re-read it for our own interest and pleasure - perhaps years after graduation day!. That's when we can truly appreciate the wit, the humour, the historical and psychological insight, the language (it's a pity it cannot be conveyed in translations). The plot is quite simple and you surely have heard of it... if you watch soap oper ...more
Oct 13, 2009 Lobstergirl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Whitey Bulger
Shelves: own, fiction
If you can get through the first 100 pages of The Betrothed, which are entirely plot, extremely operatic, and full of bumbling intrigues, I suspect you will ultimately find it rewarding. It concerns two young peasants from a village near Lake Como in 1628, Lorenzo and Lucia, who are engaged. But a local scoundrel, the wealthy and tyrannical Don Rodrigo, has taken a shine to Lucia and has his ruffians threaten the priest who is supposed to conduct the wedding, so the wedding is foiled, and Lucia ...more
Simona Bartolotta
Oct 03, 2011 Simona Bartolotta rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1800
«Sicuro che ho voglia di scherzare: e mi pare che sia ora finalmente. Ne abbiam passate delle brutte, n'è vero, i miei giovani? delle brutte n'abbiam passate: questi quattro giorni che dobbiamo stare in questo mondo, si può sperare che vogliano essere un po' meglio. Ma! fortunati voi altri, che, non succedendo disgrazie, avete ancora un pezzo da parlare de' guai passati: io in vece, sono alle ventitré e tre quarti, e... i birboni posson morire; della peste si può guarire; ma agli anni non c'è ri
Luís Miguel
Apr 08, 2015 Luís Miguel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
O romance histórico italiano mais apreciado e lido em todo mundo. Estará para os italianos como Os Maias está para os portugueses, no sentido em que é objecto de estudo e leitura obrigatória nas escolas. Um colosso literário que exalta as virtudes do espírito cristão e fornece um retrato histórico de Milão, no Séc. XVII. Agora editado pela Paulinas, com o esmero que uma obra desta magnitude merece, tem direito a ilustrações e capa dura, prefácio por José Maria Poirier e nota sobre o autor.

Foge à
Lada Fleur
Sep 19, 2014 Lada Fleur rated it really liked it
I read this book several years ago as a student in the course of my wild reading in Paris, I read it in a flash, sort to say, in one week-end, what remained of it is the poverty of existence of two poor young persecuted souls in front of greedy, arrogant and powerful master, and the system he represents, a huge novel as an impulsion to change through love. The long parts of it were consecrated to that insufferable situation of Italy divided into ecclesiastic and aristocratic forces, wielding the ...more
Oct 31, 2012 Dagny rated it it was amazing
A marvelous read! There are quite a few asides to fill us in on the history of the time the story is set. Most are interesting, a few go on too long for my taste, but not enough to knock even half a star off my rating. The book is loaded with great quotes.

". . . we all know that traditions, unless someone lends them a hand, never give you the full story."

Before concluding a marriage, we are required to search closely that there be no obstacles.

Those who injure others are guilty, not only of the evils they commit, but also of the effects produced by these evils on the characters of the injured persons.

"Surely, there's justice in the world." So true is it that, under the influence of great misfortune, men no longer know what they say.

Free download available at Project Gutenberg.

Thanks to Karen for having recommended this book.
Dec 24, 2013 Charles rated it it was amazing
What a book! On the first level simply a long, somewhat rambling historical novel about Milan and its surroundings in the seventeenth century, written two hundred years later, the book — virtually Manzoni’s only extended prose work — admirably integrates historical scholarship, personal observation of character and place, and political philosophy.

The “promised spouses” (the Italian formula for “affianced”) of the title, Renzo and Lucia, are peasants living in a village on Lake Como, near Lecco.
Dragos C Butuzea
Dec 21, 2014 Dragos C Butuzea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
romanul italian prin excelență

cu romanul său istoric logodnicii, alessandro manzoni marchează în poarta istoriei literare, romanul său rămânând cocoțat grande atât ca roman italian, cât și european. cred și io, în 1827, romancierii se numără pe degetele ciungului - walter scott sau fenimore cooper, de pildă. de-abia după vreo doi ani balzac se șterge de caș și publică șuanii iar goethe, se satură de ștrumf și zdrang și scoate anii de drumeție ai lui wilhelm meister și faust (partea întâi).

Guenda Ferri
Tranquilli, non ho letto I Promessi Sposi in un giorno. In effetti l'ho letto con la scuola nel corso dell'anno. Che dire di questo libro? Non è proprio male, ma... com'è pesante. E pieno di retorica e di moralismo.
Per di più l'unico personaggio figo (Fra Cristoforo) alla fine muore e invece sopravvive Lucia, alla quale più volte avrei sbattuto la testa contro il muro del lazzaretto. Diamine, se è fastidiosa, quella ragazza. E perché nelle illustrazioni le mettono sempre quei bastoncini da spie
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
This is part history and part fiction. The setting is Milan (Italy) sometime in the 17th century. It is said to be universally recognized as the greatest of all Italian novels and is often compared to Tolstoy's "War and Peace." It is also very, very long and contains a lot: a love story, tragedy, suspense, humor, history, war, politics, business, religion, superstition, philosophy, famine, food riots, plague, etc.

Remember my review of the Indian behemoth, "A Suitable Boy" by Vikram Seth? A chara
Nov 24, 2010 Tony rated it it was amazing
I was first drawn to this book after hearing the Verdi requiem. Who could possibly have inspired such transcendant music? I discovered that the book played a, if not the vital role in uniting Italy under one dialect. So I went into it with some trepidation. Could it live up to its reputation? For me it most certainly did, but in fact not because it was a "classic" but because it turned out to be a rollicking good read, that entertained and informed. The interjections of history were fine by me b ...more
Jul 31, 2013 Roberta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ho avuto la fortuna di leggere una versione per ragazzi dei Promessi Sposi molto prima di doverli studiare a scuola (era di mia mamma e, non sapendo nulla di Manzoni, non avevo pregiudizi). Sono poi stata così fortunata da avere la preside del liceo a fare supplenza per un docente di italiano che tardava ad arrivare, e lei era un'appassionata. Quando rileggo l'addio ai monti non posso fare a meno di pensarla.
Detto questo, la storia è più che nota ed io la trovo bella. Il personaggio più seccante
Maria Chiara
Jul 14, 2016 Maria Chiara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 stelline
un romanzo molto buono, se si legge come un qualsiasi libro e senza pensare a quello che si è studiato a scuola. I miei personaggi preferiti sono il frate Cristoforo e la monaca di Monza, anche se avrei preferito che se ne parlasse di più. Il linguaggio è antico e a volte ci sono parole che non si capiscono, ma è tutto sommato ben comprensibile.
Simon Mcleish
Mar 14, 2012 Simon Mcleish rated it really liked it
Originally published on my blog here in September 1998.

The Bethrothed is probably the most famous work of Italian literature not by Dante Alighieri or Petrarch. The introduction to this Penguin Classics edition compares its influence on Italian culture to an English scene where Charles Dickens wrote only one novel and Henry Fielding and William Makepeace Thackeray had never existed. Its revision by Manzoni into the Tuscan dialect was a major turning point in the establishment of that dialect as
Sep 21, 2012 Andrea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Renzo, un Paperino ante litteram

Trama intricata, personaggi sviluppati, ricostruzione storica.

L'unica cosa che non riesco (e non sono riuscito mai) a digerire de "I promessi sposi" è la Provvidenza, l'idea del burattinaio che tiene in mano i fili, anche se per il bene dei burattini.

Ma che dire di quel Paperino ante litteram che è Renzo Tramaglino? Un motore dell'azione straordinario: combina un'infinità di guai a cui deve poi porre rimedio.
E Don Abbondio?
Per non parlare dell'Innominato. Manzoni
Jan 01, 2010 Karen rated it it was amazing
The Betrothed is rightfully rated as a treasure in World Literature. Both a wonderful story and a historical documentary set in the vicinity of Milan between 1628-1631, the story line is that of star crossed lovers; but oh the obstacles they faced! I picked it up because I recently discovered that my ancestors survived the 1630 Plague of Milan. But the story of the Great Plague (footnoted with Manzoni's research of contemporary accounts) is only one section of this incredibly rich novel. I thoro ...more
Feb 16, 2008 Pamina rated it it was amazing
As part and parcel of every italian student background, I was first forced to read this book in high school. But I didn't deeply appreciated it since I read it again and again after school. Somehow ironic and dramatic, perfect photography of author's time (although set a couple of century before). Characters are unforgettable. Written in the best italian possible (for me).
I now put it in my top ten favorite books.
May 10, 2016 Lmichelleb rated it really liked it
Though this is a classic I never had heard of before, thankfully other more well-read friends pointed me in the right direction! The characters are well developed, there is much of human nature to ponder, especially as the title couple, and many others, walk their difficult road through suffering and pain. A surprising amount of humor tempered the sorrowful portions of the tale, and all the history woven in just made it come all the more alive.

Definitely recommended!
Jul 12, 2011 Kristine rated it really liked it
Wow, this is an amazing book. It is also very involved. I love all of Manzoni's depictions of human nature through his characters and thought he had some good insights as well. The story line is beautiful and so good and moral. This book is so much more, though. It also delves into much of Italian history and since this was my first ever introduction to Italian history, it was a lot to digest, but also extremely interesting. Apparently the Italians study this book all through their school years, ...more
I began Manzoni in the 70s, when at a college teaching interview the head of the department had specialized in M. But I only finished in the 90s, when my daughter moved to Milan and I visited the author's house; as I recall, it was what we call the 2nd Floor, they the First, primo piano. It reminded me just a tad of Victor Hugo's house I saw in Paris in the late 60s; both were the site of composition for successful 19C authors.
As for the novel, I really must re-read it. I do recall how patriarc
Despite some minor slogging in the deviations that dealt with historical explanations (not that those detracted from the novel), Manzoni's work is entertaining and informative. I stopped often to investigate online the plague in Italy and Milan, and the old maps of Lombardy, Milan and surrounding regions. A fascinating read overall. Alone, the plot is fun and uncomplicated. Add in the historical perspectives and an omniscient but humorously self-aware narrator and you have a great and lasting pi ...more
Dec 05, 2011 Martina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Grande capolavoro della letteratura italiana. Secondo il mio parere sbagliano a imporlo alla scuole superiori perchè così facendo rovinano il gusto della lettura. L'ho letto, obbligata dalla scuola, e l'ho trovato orribile, non vedevo l'ora che finisse tanto lo sapevo a memoria, poi mi sono decisa a riprenderlo a casa, senza nessuna costrizione, e l'ho trovato interessante e piacevole. Da leggere assolutamente almeno una volta nella vita.
Oct 29, 2014 Chiara marked it as abbandonati  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classici
Ho provato a leggere questo libro almeno otto volte, ma niente.
Superata la metà lo dovevo abbandonare.
Non è il mio genere, non mi entusiasma la storia e i personaggi mi sono antipatici.
Non ho trovato un solo punto a favore di questo libro.
Doverlo rileggere a scuola è stato un trauma (ma anche in quel caso non l'ho finito).
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Alessandro Francesco Tommaso Manzoni was an Italian poet and novelist. He is famous for the novel The Betrothed (Italian: I Promessi Sposi) (1840), generally ranked among the masterpieces of world literature. The novel is also a symbol of the Italian Risorgimento, both for its patriotic message and because it was a fundamental milestone in the development of the modern, unified Italian language.
More about Alessandro Manzoni...

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“Bullies, oppressors and all men who do violence to the rights of others are guilty not only of their own crimes, but also of the corruption they bring into the hearts of their victims.” 17 likes
“I would really like, in fact, to be born again in another two hundred years' time.” 13 likes
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