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Alessandro Manzoni

1785-1873. Romantic poet and Italian novelist. Though educated in the Somaschi schools, he was influenced by the theories of the Encyclopedists,* Voltaire, and the Revolution. By 1810, however, having come in touch with the Jansenist circle in Paris (led by the Abbé Degola), he had returned to the Christian faith, thence devoting his literary talent to the writings of works which had as collateral aim the proclamation of Christianity. Between 1812 and 1832 he published Inni sacri, sacred lyrics in which he exalts the great events of Christendom (Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, etc.) and their significant influence on humanity, while in his tragedies (Conte di Carmagnola, Adelchi) he develops the theme of justice and sovereignty of God as opposed to the oppression of the rulers. But it is in his great novel I promessi sposi (“The Betrothed,” 2nd ed., 1820-42) that the author concentrates all his favorite Christian themes, i.e., the absolute control of Providence over men's lives and