MANZONI, Alessandro. b. Milan, 7 March 1785; d. 22 May 1873. Born into a distinguished family, he was educated at Milan and briefly at the University of Pavia; academically he was undistinguished, but he produced his first poem, ‘Il Trionfo della Liberta’ as early as 1801. After the death of his father in 1805, he lived for two years with his mother at Auteuil, Paris, where he met French writers and encountered the anti-church ideas of Voltaire. In 1808, however, back in Milan, he married Henriette-Louise Blondel, a Swiss Calvinist who was converted to Roman Catholicism in 1810. Manzoni’s own ‘conversion’ followed, with some remorse and uneasiness.
For the rest of his life, Manzoni lived...
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