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Alessandro Manzoni

Alessandro Manzoni

Manzoni, Alessandro Francesco Tommaso Antonio (1785-1873), Italian novelist, poet, and playwright, born in Milan. As a young man he espoused the rationalism and scepticism prevailing in French literature of the Enlightenment. After 1808 his position was that which generally characterized Romantic Italian literature of the first half of the 19th century: a combination of ardent patriotism and devout Roman Catholicism. He took part in the unsuccessful Milanese revolt of 1848 against Austrian rule and in 1860 became a senator in the legislative body of the new kingdom of Italy.

Before 1825 he was known as a poet and playwright. Among his writings of this period were an ode on Napoleon's death, Il cinque maggio (1822, The Fifth of May), the volume of religious lyrics Inni Sacri (1810, Sacred Hymns), and the Romantic tragedies Count of Carmagnola (1820, trans. 1868) and Adelchi (1822, trans. 1868). Manzoni is best known for I promessi sposi (1825-1827, The Betrothed, 1834), a Romantic historical novel of life in Milan under Spanish rule in the 17th century. The work, a classic of world literature, set a standard for modern Italian prose and influenced later novelists. It has been translated into many languages. The Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi wrote (1874) his Requiem to honour Manzoni's memory and it is sometimes called the "Manzoni Requiem".

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