Tuesday, October 20, 2015

My Dinner with Alessandro

I Promessi Sposi, 1845In 1836, while touring Europe, the well connected, wealthy Bostonians, George (Dartmouth class of 1807) and Anna Ticknor, paid a visit to Alessandro Manzoni at his villa in Milan. Manzoni, famous for his classic novel I Promessi Sposi, was a major force in the nineteenth-century Italian unification movement. Both George and Anna Ticknor recorded the visit in their journals. Their impressions of the day's events differed.

Anna noted that Manzoni "is not striking in his appearance or manner, and in conversation is neither fluent nor very interesting." George was granted a longer time with Manzoni and found him more talkative: "Thus, for instance, he was positively eloquent, when he urged his fears, that the attempts to introduce liberal institutions into Europe would end in furthering its claims of a heavier despotism on the people; and that the irreligious tendencies of the age would but arm the priesthood with new and more dangerous power."

Image of exhibit in Rauner Library
Ian Blanco, Claire Daly, Paul Maravelias, and Zonia Moore, the four members of Nancy Canepa's Italian 24 class, "Questions of Identity in the 19th Century," have just mounted an exhibit in the Rauner Reading Room showing the Ticknor diaries alongside early editions of Manzoni's I Promessi Sposi. The exhibit will be up until the end of term, so come in to see their amazing work.

After the exhibit comes down, you can see the diaries by asking for MS-1249, Box 1 and MS-983, Box 3.

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