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date: 11 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

On what terms are we in the twenty-first century best able to share in and appreciate what Manzoni himself bequeathed? Manzoni’s lasting effect upon Italian culture has been well studied in the past. The older tradition of generous tribute was followed by accounts of Manzoni’s writing that were well ‘this side idolatry’, in the criticism of Benedetto Croce as well as in a brief but suggestive comment by Antonio Gramsci. While all such earlier tributes and criticism still provide us with guidelines for enquiry, we need to take further soundings, tracking forward in cultural consciousness from the Second World War into our own times. What is Manzoni’s present and potential future standing, not merely in Italian culture, but as a ‘world’ author? This chapter argues that in his novel and certain other works Manzoni has left much that is still of compelling relevance to troubled times.

Keywords: Manzoni, historiography, novel, world literature, national languageCroce, Gramsci, Italy.

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