I Promessi Sposi – Alessandro Manzoni
Set in northern Italy in 1628, during the oppressive years of direct Spanish rule. It is also noted for the extraordinary description of the plague that struck Milan around 1630.
The novel deals with a variety of themes, from the illusory nature of political power to the inherent injustice of any legal system; from the cowardly, hypocritical nature of one prelate (the parish priest don Abbondio) and the heroic sainthood of other priests (the friar Padre Cristoforo, the cardinal Federico Borromeo), to the unwavering strength of love (the relationship between Renzo and Lucia, and their struggle to finally meet again and be married). The novel is renowned for offering keen insights into the meanderings of the human mind..
In this moment of world epidemic, many go back to Manzoni’s masterpiece where the plague condition of Milan is described. The pages dedicated to Silvia are greatly moving
It is the terrible epidemic that broke out in Northern Italy between 1630 and 1631, decimating the population and raging with particular virulence in the city of Milan, then among the most populous in the region: it is described in the final pages of the novel, in particular in the chapters . XXXI-XXXII entirely occupied by a historical digression that reconstructs the spread of the disease and its dramatic consequences (the novelist’s description has rightly remained famous and is still remembered as one of the high points of his literary work). The epidemic spread easily also thanks to the state of extreme poverty and deprivation in which the people found themselves after two years of terrible famine, and following troop movements and looting that took place in the context of the war for the succession of Mantua, which he saw Spain as opposed to France.