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Reading Group

Seminar: An Amazing Transformation: Alessandro Manzoni’s The Betrothed, with Nicholas Birns

Wednesday, May 3, 2023 - 11:00 AM | Whitridge Room | for members only | $50 for the two sessions | registration required

Long considered the most famous Italian novel, a classic of the 19th century, and a crystallization of Italian nationalism, Alessandro Manzoni’s The Betrothed (I Promessi Sposi) until now has never been compellingly rendered into English. Michael F. Moore’s new version published by Modern Library, though, brings us the novel in all its many-sided splendor.

Unfolding Manzoni’s inspiring story of young love facing the challenges of clerical and temporal power as well as of the plague, Moore’s translation also, as Jhumpa Lahiri points out in her Preface, marks an ‘amazing transformation’ of the Italian language itself from an amalgam of regional dialects to a modern mode of literary expression. In two sessions, we will appreciate this newly accessible masterpiece of modern literature.

This seminar took place in two sessions, on May 3 and June 14, 2023.