Author(s): Alessandro Manzoni
A historical novel set in Lombardy during the wars, famine and plague of the period 1628-30. Two star-crossed lovers are tested by the political injustices of their situation, the virulence of the plague, and a life in exile, away from their homeland. First published in 1827, and now accompanied by an essay HISTORY OF THE COLUMN OF INFAMY.
Alessandro Manzoni was born in 1785 near Lake Como, Italy. Sent to boarding school at the age of five, he felt estranged from his family, particularly when his mother left his father. As a young man Manzoni subscribed to the ideas of the French Revolution, joining his mother in Paris, where he married Henriette Blondel in 1808. He wrote throughout his life, but suffered from a nervous disorder which grew progressively worse through his lifetime. He died in 1873. Bruce Penman was a versatile linguist fluent in four languages, knowledgeable of ten. In 1984 his translation of China by Gildo Fossati won the John Florio Prize for best translation from the Italian. He died in 1986.