Giuseppe Verdi once wrote that Alessandro Manzoni's novel The Betrothed was "a gift to humanity."
Verdi was not alone in praising the author, who in Italy ranks second only to Dante in Italian literary history. Manzoni's contemporaries Goethe and Stendhal celebrated his genius as well.
The Betrothed tells the story of two young lovers, Renzo and Lucia, prevented from marrying by the petty tyrant Don Rodrigo, who desires Lucia for himself.
Set in Lombardy during the Spanish occupation of the late 1620s, the lovers are forced to flee, then are cruelly separated and must face many dangers including plague, famine and imprisonment, in their struggle to be reunited.
A dynamic portrayal of enduring passion, The Betrothed's exploration of love, power and faith presents a vast panorama of seventeenth-century Italian life and is one of the greatest European historical novels.
ALLESANDRO MANZONI (1785 -1873) was an Italian poet and novelist, most famous for his novel The Betrothed generally ranked among the masterworks of world literature.