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Alessandro Manzoni
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    (March 7, 1785-May 22, 1873)
    Born in Milan, Italy
    Signore Alessandro Francesco Tommaso Manzoni OCI, OSML
    Italian poet, novelist, dramatist, and nationalist
    Grandson of noted Italian philosopher, Cesare Beccaria
    Italian national icon; credited with playing a role in the development of a modern, unified Italian language
    Published his first tragedy, 'Il Conte di Carmagnola,' in 1819
    Penned the epic poem 'Il Cinque Maggio' (The Fifth of May), in 1821
    Other poems include 'La Pentecoste,' 'La sabbia del tempo,' 'Marzo 1821,' and 'Regala ciò che non hai'
    Appointed and named Senator of Italy by King Victor Emmanuel II (1860 )
    Best known for his historical epic, 'I Promessi Sposi' ('The Betrothed'; 1840), initially penned between 1821 and 1825
    Work of the same name was later turned into an opera by both Amilcare Ponchielli (1856) and Errico Petrella (1869)
    Remains currently lay in state at the Cimitero Monumentale Tomb, in Milan, Italy
    Featured characters such as Renzo & Lucia, Don Abbondio, Don Rodrigo, Fra Cristoforo, The Unnamed, and The Nun of Monza have since evolved into Italian national literary icons
    The state of his paternity has been debated.
    He was labeled a dunce as a college student (until he discovered poetry).
    He converted to Voltairian skepticism after moving to Paris to be with his mother and her lover, in 1805.
    He wrote a poem rhapsodizing about the greatness of Napoleon and bashing Christianity.
    He converted to Catholicism only after marrying Henriette Blondel, a Calvinist who had become a Catholic, in 1808.
    Henriette was actually his second choice after his family determined he 'needed a wife.' He spent a great deal of time tracking down a girl in Genoa he was in love with, but she was already married.
    He suffered from anxiety following Napoleon's 1814-1815 defeat and eventual dowfall.
    His 'Promessi' is practically required reading in Italy, but is virtually ignored internationally (much to the annoyance of locals).
    Young Italy’s revolutionaries of the 1840s onward dismissed his works as dated: too genteel and passive to ignite patriotic fervor.
    Goethe called one of his early works 'genius.'
    He spent most of his childhood in religious schools after his parents’ separation.
    Margaret Fuller described his marriage to Henriette as an example of the 'ideal union,' in her famous 'Woman in the Nineteenth Century' treatise.
    He was the first person Ralph Waldo Emerson sought out during his 1834 trip through Europe, following the death of his first wife.
    Giuseppe Verdi's 'Requiem' was written in his memory, to honor the first anniversary of his death.
    The Italian language (in the modern sense) was virtually created through his novel.
    He created this new language after a very long and hard study of Italy's dozens of different dialects.
    At the end of this study he decided to set up the whole new language upon just one book, Dante's 'Divine Comedy.'
    His last years were dogged by horrible luck, not the least the death of his wife, the wife of his second marriage, and his mother.
    In addition, of his nine children, all but two predeceased him (the death of his eldest, and favorite, son in 1873 is believed to have resulted in the loss of his will to live).
    Pope Francis, speaking at a weekly convocation, told engaged couples to read 'Promessi Sposi' for edification before they got married (May, 2015).
    There is arguably no American or British counterpart to his masterpiece. No such existing English work so clearly foreshadows the theme of a successful national liberation and continues to have such a profound, lasting affect on either country's language.

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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