Online School Of Pastoral Ministry

“Justice, Mercy, Conversion”: Alessandro Manzoni’s The Betrothed

Alessandro Manzoni, The Betrothed,
transcription by Michael F. Moore,
Modern Library, New York, 2022

About The Course

“Justice, Mercy, Conversion”:
Alessandro Manzoni’s The Betrothed

Alessandro Manzoni (1785-1873) was the author of sacred hymns, poems, tragedies, and treatises, but is best known for his 19th-century work I promessi sposi (“The Betrothed”), an historical novel set in 17th-century Lombardy that recounts the trials and tribulations of two young lovers, Renzo and Lucia. Their quest to be married unfolds amidst the backdrop of twin calamities, one human, the other natural: the European wars of succession and the plague that killed up to an astounding 70% of milanesi in a single year between 1629-1630. Pope Francis has encouraged all engaged couples to read the novel, and the great composer Giuseppe Verdi revered and even venerated Manzoni so much that his famous Requiem commemorates the author’s death. Such was the power that the Catholic Manzoni exerted, especially on those dedicated to the project of Italian unification, that Verdi–a notorious free-thinker and agnostic, atheist even–called him “l’unico Santo del mio calendario” (‘the only saint on my calendar’). In an 1867 letter, he commented on the novel’s embodiment of truth:
I was sixteen years old when I first read I promessi sposi. […] [M]y enthusiasm is still the same; indeed, since I have come to know men better, it has become even greater. The fact is that this is a true book, as true as Truth itself.

11/21/2023 – Lesson Three: The Betrothed (Chapters 11-18)

11/28/2023 – Lesson Four: The Betrothed (Chapters 19-25)

***CLASS CANCELED*** Class information will be combined with next week’s class.

12/05/2023 – Lesson Five: The Betrothed (Chapters 26-33)

Lessons 4 & 5 were combined due to canceled class previous week.

12/12/2023 – Lesson Six: The Betrothed (Chapters 34-38)