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The Betrothed

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  3,169 ratings  ·  204 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 March 6th 1984 by Penguin Classics (first published 1840)
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Bill  Kerwin

Manzoni's historical novel "The Betrothed"--although not much read 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 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 crime and sincere
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
Tea Jovanović
Prvo izdanje posle 50 godina otkako je poslednji put objavljena u Srbiji... Istorijski, ljubavni roman...
Luís Miguel
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
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
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
Simona Bartolotta
«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
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."
Jun 25, 2011 Lobstergirl rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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

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.
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
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
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.
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.
Feb 22, 2015 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).
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
Simon Mcleish
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
Oct 15, 2014 Wanda marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Wanda by: Karen
15 OCT 2014 -- recommended by Karen. Thank you.
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
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
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.
eleonora -
Sono le cose che questo libro mi ha lasciato. Sono i momenti di paura prima dell'interrogazione, e delle interminabili serate passate a ripassare i capitoli per il giorno successivo.
Avevo scritto una lunghissima review, ma l'ho cancellata: non ha bisogno di altro, neanche dei ricordi che non c'è bisogno di condividere.
Robert Wechsler
[1834 translation] I wax nostalgic at the thought that a British geologist could come to America to learn Indian languages, get a charter for the first steam railroad, and translate both Cicero and this great Italian novel of the early nineteenth century. Not only is the uncredited translation by George William Featherstonhaugh excellent, but a digital version of it is free online at Project Gutenberg.

I chose to read this novel because I had just made plans to go to Lake Como later this year, an
Julia Boechat Machado
La madre aggiunse altri consigli dello stesso genero, e lo sposo se n'andò, col cuore in tempestà, ripetendo sempre quelle strane parole:
- A questo mondo c'è giustizia, finalmente! - Tant'é vero che un uomo sopraffatto dal dolore no sa più che si dica.
Michael Gruber
I read this book, which, shame to say, I had never heard of before, on the recommendation of the Pope, whose favorite novel it is. I had never done this before, but then we never had a Pope who recommended novels before. The Betrothed, or I Promessi Sposi, is a book on the magnificent scale of War and Peace or Moby Dick, and is regarded by cultured Italians as an equivalent achievement. As in many 19th century European novels, the authorial voice dominates the telling of the story, but Mazzoni h ...more
It seems that just about everybody recognizes this as the greatest Italian novel, and I agree that it's excellent. But I do think my expectations were a little high for this one. I may have given it five stars if I weren't expecting so much.

Published in 1827, I Promessi Sposi takes place 200 years earlier in Spanish-controlled Lombardia in Northern Italy. The novel tracks the fate of a poor engaged couple that is prevented from marrying by a thuggish, libidinous noble who has an eye for the brid
I think that I read a different translation than the one in the Penguin, but I don't have it with me to check. This is supposed to be one of the best books ever written, and definately one of the best books written in Italian, so I had been looking forward to reading it eagerly for quite some time. Manzoni describes plagues and mobs wonderously well. If you're looking for a jolly story with clearly drawn, compelling characters with unambiguous moral profiles, then look no further. The heroine is ...more
I first heard of this book when, in an interview with America magazine, Pope Francis cited it as a personal favorite. It's considered a classic without that endorsement, but I found it was really enhanced by what an article in the New Oxford Review calls "reading Francis through Manzoni." This is a story of oppression and injustice suffered by the poor at the hands of the wealthy and unprincipled-- it explores and exposes much of the social, political, and religious history of the time. I did no ...more
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I Promessi Sposi (1827) I promessi sposi. Antologia I Promessi sposi e Storia della colonna infame Storia della colonna infame Adelchi

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